What I want from you is….your voice

We women often want something we can’t have right?
Before I had kids I wished my hair was curly.
Well then I had kids, and my hair DID go curly, and then I wished for my straight hair days again so I could style it short.
(silly problems)
But I guess if I could choose my ultimate hair…it would be either be dark-brown thick curls, or….an orangey-golden Autumn-leaf red. Mmm.

Because then I could have lived with Daddy Warbucks and had a special locket. Or maybe I could have an amazing Scottish accent and ride horseback like Merida. Or…I could live my 8th-grade dream life and be Ariel!—with the most impossible-possible shade of red hair ever.

I’m going somewhere with this.

Basically, when I was 13, I breathed The Little Mermaid. It had just come out in theaters. I saw it multiple times, I owned the soundtrack, I loved the music. And when it came out on DVD my cousin Rachael and I memorized it. We spent two weeks at her grandparent’s lake house that summer watching the movie every single day—quoting and singing along.
I can still quote it today.
Maybe you can too?!
Eek.

So.
When Disney emailed asking if I’d like to review their latest release of The Little Mermaid, it was an easy yes! (comes out October 1st and is the first time it’s on Blu-ray Combo Pack and HD Digital)

The criteria for my review were to watch the movie with my daughter Lucy and then ask what messages she took from the film.

So I decided to do the same for myself, from an adult perspective because compared to my 13-year-old self, I definitely have new vision on following your dreams. I was curious to see what would jump out at me this time around and what would jump out at Lucy….other than amazing flowing hair.

Sorry. I keep talking about that hair. But in the water, it never stops moving! It’s just beautiful! Amazing animation.
And that first time you see Ariel swim into screen, you just have to smile.
I feel like a kid again.

So for our special screening we invited over our good friends Savannah and Virginia.

And they invited over stuffed Ursula and Ariel. Dude, is that the best stuffed villain or what? The lips, the mole, the hair! We’re back to the hair again.

They’d all seen the movie before, but it had been a while so they soaked it in, feeling tense at the tense parts,

and laughing at the silly ones.


And after a couple hours of lively music and colorful story-telling, we had a funny conversation.

I asked the kids, “so….what is something we can learn from The Little Mermaid….like a lesson?”

[Blank stares]

[Take it down a notch]

“Savannah? (6) What was your favorite part?”
“Oh, I loved her pink dress. It’s just so pretty.”
[Totally agree. Love the puffy sleeves]

“I love the pink dress too!” chimed in Virginia (3), “and that silly seagull”
[Yep. Scuttle is the best. Thank you Buddy Hacket for giving us a lifetime of “that” voice]

“Owen? (5) what was your favorite part?”
“When they killed Ursula! They stabbed her with the ship! Can you believe it??”
[boy, boy, boy]
“And Mom? You know? I bet Mace Windu could probably just swipe her with a light saber.”
[had to pull Star Wars into it]
“Yep. I bet he could. I bet any Jedi could beat Ursula.”

And then came Lucy (7) with her golden-child moment.
I promise, I can’t make this stuff up. Her innocent demeanor is something I love best about her.

After thinking for a while she looked at me with those little girl eyes, “Well. I think that what we can learn is that we should probably obey our parents because they know about dangers that kids don’t know about. If Ariel listened to her dad she probably wouldn’t have gotten in so much trouble.”
[my heart is melting. Please remember this moment when you’re a teenager]

“You’re right. That’s a great point Lucy. And you know what else I was thinking? Maybe Ariel’s dad could have listened to her a little more too. Maybe if he understood that she wanted to do something different they could have figured out a better way to make it work.”
“Yea. That’s true. I think it’s important for parents to understand how their kids feel.”
“Yep. That’s right. So you can always talk to me about anything, okay?”
“Okay.”

And I suddenly realized that in the middle of a simple kids’ movie there really is a good parenting message. It’s not about who lays down the rules or about getting your way….it’s about understanding each other. And if Ariel and Triton could have come to an agreement and compromised a bit, Ariel could have spent a year swimming by Eric’s castle each week, casually dating, dinner dates on the sand, traveling abroad to the check out the Pacific ocean, gaining her own life experience, and then her father wouldn’t have been reduced to a wimpy Ursula weed.

We have to give our kids an inch and help them explore paths that are likely different than what we love. I love to sew. Lucy might love math and science. Or she might take up fencing. Who knows? In return, our kids should respect our life experience, take our advice, and then learn to find their own voice.

Whoa. Who knew I could get so deep on The Little Mermaid?
I told you I loved that movie.

I guess those Disney classics are “classic” for a reason.
(ps I forgot that I love the blue dress/blue bow combo above. Goreat color contrast with the hair)

Okay, I’m done.
Now it’s your turn.
If it’s been a while since you’ve seen it, I highly recommend picking it up! (details HERE)
Christmas gift for the kids’ stockings??

And….check out our GIVEAWAY! We’ve got two items for one winner:
β€’ $50 Visa Gift Card
β€’ Little Mermaid Diamond Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack.

Just leave a comment below and share your answer to the question:
How do you encourage your children to follow their dreams?

For additional entries, see info below.
Ah, ah, aah.
Ah, ah, aaaaaaah.

ADDITIONAL RULES:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “”#SweepstakesEntry””; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post”
c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 9/9/13 – 10/15/13.
Be sure to visit the Disney’s Little Mermaid page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

  1. 1) Katie

    We encourage them to follow their dreams by allowing them to imagine and create. Hopefully some day their creative little hearts will help them live a wild and adventurous life!

  2. 2) Julie H.

    Right now my kids are 12, 8 and almost 4. Their “dreams” change daily, so we feel the best we can do to help encourage their dreams is by not letting them give up and being their biggest cheerleaders along the way!

    P.S. I was 9 when The Little Mermaid came out and it was my first Disney movie like that in the Theatre before all the others followed i.e. Beauty and the Beast, Alladin, etc. so it will always hold a special place in my heart. I loved your review of it.

  3. 3) Kirsten

    I love this post- makes me want to go out and buy a copy of The Little Mermaid to surprise the kids with after school!

    • 4) Kirsten

      I encourage my three to follow their dreams by encouraging their interests, trying my best to embrace to spur-of-the moment exploration, and, by teaching them to trust themselves and see the worth of their ideas- even if they differ from those of their peers.

  4. 5) Colleen

    I tell them they can be anything they want to be, but they have to work for it and WANT it. I have a boy who will be 13 next week, so we’re getting more serious about these conversations now, while my 8-year-old has a different dream every few days. My main message to them both is that I don’t expect them to always BE the best, but I do expect them to do THEIR best, whatever that looks like. And I let them try new things – sometimes they love them, sometimes they hate them, but they won’t know until they try. My younger son just said the other day, “You always make us have experiences. Our summer was so busy with all those experiences! Maybe we need a break from experiences.” LOL! But seriously, I want them to know the world is wide open to them, whatever they choose to do. But they need to work hard for it, don’t expect it to just happen, and keep their eyes on the prize so that every other choice they make will keep those opportunities within reach – no regrets.

  5. 6) Florence

    I can’t enter the give away since I’m no more a US resident… but, something which took me a long time to understand and I’m sometimes trying to teach my kids, is that, if the main characters of their favorite movies haven’t done any mistake, there would not be any movie for them to enjoy ! (and lessons for us to learn….) That would be so sad…. I’ m a huge fan of Aladdin for instance…. if he had not lied, if he had listened to the Genie…. there would not be any movieΒ !

  6. I like to have the girls experience as many unique people and occupations as possible. There are at ton of options out there. They have taken cooking classes, done chores on a farm, talked with artists, etc… Don’t limit yourself.

  7. 8) Kristen

    My kids are still young and they have a long list of dreams. I try to always let them talk about them and we try to talk realities and how to make things happen. The little mermaid is a popular show around here, but it’s been awhile since I’ve sat for it. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. 9) jen

    little mermaid was my favourite movie too!!!!!! My dad took me to see it in the theater actually as a father-daughter date πŸ™‚

    I try to encourage my kids by just letting them do what their interest are, they are still quite young so right now it means exploring the laundry pile and banging my pots and pans together for the youngest and having a house full of stickers played into stories for the oldest πŸ™‚

  9. 10) Diane

    Mine are still very young … but I’m trying to encourage them to do things for themselves, rather than swoop in and do it for them. Which would be easier and faster, but it also would hamper their independence and creativity.

  10. 11) Deana

    My girls are small, so we try to stay creative with art, storytelling, and reading so the girls will be able to imagine and dream big.

  11. 12) Sami

    We are still fairly new to this with kids that are 7, 6, 3, and a 3 month old, but we like to let them know our guidelines and then let them do what they want as long as it falls in those guidelines.

  12. 13) Anna

    I will always stand by him to cheer for his dream comes true and to help him picking himself up when his dream is broken. I can’t say I will always agree with him, but I have to respect him.

  13. 14) Rhonda

    We encourage our children to follow their dreams by trying lots of new experiences. Sometimes their attempts are successful and sometimes they are less so, but they always learn an important lesson about trying their hardest and not being afraid to fail.

  14. 15) Amie

    I make sure my kids have things that interest them on hand always. If my son (7) shows interest in something like rodeos, I find someone who has been to them, worked at them, something. I also make sure to find answers to all his questions and challenge him to dream big.

  15. 16) Mami2jcn

    My daughter, who just turned 4 a few days ago, loves art and music so I encourage her to be creative and I have her enrolled in ballet class.

  16. 17) Abby Y.

    I don’t have kids yet, but it seems like a really good idea to let them try a bunch of things, in a small, safe setting, and see what they really enjoy. And encourage them the whole way, even if they choose to do something totally different then your plans.

  17. 18) Mami2jcn

    tweet–https://twitter.com/mami2jcn/status/377058019281879040

  18. 19) Shayne

    I teach mine to be independent by not doing things for them that they can do themselves. This gives them the confidence to try new things and expand upon things they know.

  19. 20) Kellie

    My children are young, but I think letting them know that make-belive is wonderful is a great place to start. I like to encourage pretending and being imaginative. Thanks for the review. It is one of my favorites!!!

  20. 21) Sarah E.

    I try to encourage them by letting them see what they can do. And also helping them try new things to learn and grow and be sure that their dream is what they want. If something new doesn’t work out, it just pushes them to their goal that much more!

  21. I encourage my kids to follow their dreams by setting a good example myself!

  22. 23) Kelsi G

    My kids are still small, but I like the quote “We can do hard things” and I hope to instill that in them. Some dreams require hard work, and I want them to know they can accomplish anything because they can do hard things!

  23. I was obsessed with the Little Mermaid too! When it first came out our whole family saw it together on Christmas morning. We bought the VHS (haha) and it was one of the few movies our family actually owned. I still have the songs memorized. I would love to win this!

    I encourage my girls to follow their dreams by listening to them! Also when an experiment goes awry, I try to reinforce the positive aspects so they keep trying.

  24. 25) Tabitha

    My kids are young, 4 and 2, so we’re just getting started on this part of parenting. As of now when they show a real interest in a subject, we go to the library to check out books on the subject. We try to learn as much about it.

  25. 26) Colette

    My daughter is 9 and wants to be an OB when she grows up…has been saying that since she was 3! It may change but we are supportive and listen and are saving for college!! We encourage her to try new and different things.

  26. 27) Angela Arnett Stone

    I love that she saw the message so clearly and was able to put it into words so well.

    I help my kids follow their dreams by giving them opportunities to learn. I don’t have extra cash but I can take them to the library and look stuff up online for them.

  27. 28) Laura H.

    Love this post! My kids are 6 and 7.5, and we encourage them to try new things and use their imagination and creative skills as much as possible. At this age their “I want to be a ___________ when I grow up” changes almost daily, so we just want them to experience everything they can and follow the path of what they find they enjoy doing the most.

  28. Mine are 5,3, & 3 months so pretty little. I try to help them learn to do things by themselves – to gain a little independence.

  29. 30) Denise

    My kids are four and almost two. We encourage them to follow theit dreams by helping them with the things they’re interested in!

  30. We encourage our daughter to follow her dreams by continuing to follow our dreams! God has called both of us to missions and in May we are going to Africa for three months for advanced missions training and our daughter is coming with us. It is amazing and we couldn’t be more excited! Right now her biggest dream is to learn how to fish! Yesterday, her Papa bought her a Barbie fishing pole and tackle box. Once she has learned to cast, they are going fishing together!

  31. We encourage them to try new things and find something that they like to do whether the rest of the family is involved or not.

  32. you made me smile…..not running for the blue ray, But I could not not telling you, that you bring a smile today around here !!! And yep, I do find nice lessons in Disney’s. The biggest and recurrent one : just keep dreaming and to make it real!

  33. 34) Heather D

    I don’t have children yet, but I hope to someday. My parents always encouraged me to follow my dreams. They supported me through several career/college major changes, a few moves and much more. I hope to give my children the same support and unconditional love!

  34. Have you been on the Ariel ride at California Adventure? I LOVED it. Ursala jiggled all over. It was amazing!

  35. 36) ira lee

    wow- lucy totally blew us away with that comment, huh?! lol so sweet.
    i think its really easy for me to encourage my kids dreams. i helped them learn to dream and use their imaginations. so it’s only natural that i get excited when they share with me. whatever they are into, i praise them. this has turned into HUGE dreams and plans. as in flying cars and jet packs for my 8 year old son. and oncology, mission work, and now defense lawyer with my 16 year old girl. (-sigh-)

  36. 37) Nina

    I loved this movie as a teenager! I had the soundtrack and the lyrics to all the songs memorized! The next time we watch this movie as a family, I’ll have to ask my 2 and 4 year old daughters about what they think of the movie.

  37. 38) Correne J

    I love The Little Mermaid! We get so excited watching my kids get excited to try something new and set new goals for themselves. They learn so much when they achieve their goals and even more when they don’t. Nothing is better than watching them light up when they reach a goal they had to struggle for and they now just how hard they had to work to get there!

  38. 39) Janelle Dunn

    We encourage our kids (8mo, 3, 5, 8, 10, and 15) by talking about their areas of strength/giftings. Then, along with other learning opportunities, we find ways to expose them to experiences that incorporate their areas of gifting in the hope that they will develop those gifts and start to get a feel for a future hobby or vocation.

  39. One of the big laughs from the little ones was always when Ariel combed her hair with the fork. Lots of giggles! Encouraging kids – of all ages – to talk about their dreams, no matter how wild or grandiose, helps them believe in themselves and lets them see that you believe in them as well. We always went around the dinner table and asked, “What was the best part (and worst part) of your day?” We’d occasionally change it up with, “If you could go anywhere, where would you go?” and “If you could be anything, what would you be?” Some amazing things come from those little minds!

  40. 41) Rachel Adair

    I often see my girls using there forks in that “special” kind of way when we are out in public. They like it so much I try to not stop them. I do ask for an extra for ya know for when their meal arrives.

  41. 42) Carrie Wayland

    I tell my kids to follow the herat! Do things that you enjoy and I doesn’t matter what other people say or do.

  42. Honestly, one of the ways is simply by not laughing at their ideas or dreams. Just that one negative chuckle can crush a kid’s hope for big things to come.

  43. 44) deeanna

    My parents always supported me and I never, never had a doubt that they loved me no matter what. Now that I have five kids (!!!!) I try to do the same for them. Because how can you dream if you don’t have someone who believes in you?

  44. 45) Cindy Singer

    By not letting them give up when something might be hard and just by talking with them and encouraging them!

  45. 46) Kathryn Chavez

    I try to help my 10y girl old learn to be better organized for school, it is easier to figure out your passions if you have time to concentrate on everything around you. And my 4y boy, by not parenting him too much. He has so many ideas and I could easily step in and tell him he’s too little but letting him try is the best thing I can do for him!

  46. we give them lots of new experiences so they can figure out just what those dreams are.

  47. 48) Lisa Ferguson

    The Little Mermaid is my 3 year old son’s favorite movie! We watch it on the VHS tape I had growing up and he sleeps with his Ariel doll nightly. Being 3, dreams are often wild and imaginative. We live and breathe imagination and exploration daily. We try our hardest to avoid “don’ts” and can’ts” and encourage problem solving.

  48. 49) Veronica

    I encourage my kids to follow their dreams by asking them what makes them happy instead of assuming that what makes me happy would make them happy as well.

  49. 50) Anna

    I’ve always held the same view of The Little Mermaid as Lucy. But I am friend’s with a pastor’s wife who shared that they teach King Triton’s actions mimic Jesus’ when he sacrificed himself for someone who totally didn’t deserve it. Which was food for thought…

    Anyway, I encourage my children to follow their dreams by homeschooling. I have an 11yo son who wants to be a computer programmer, so we focus his education on math and computer skills (computer classes aren’t even available for his grade at the local middle school). I have another who wants to make nature documentaries, so he gets to take my camera outside and make up scripts for whatever critter he is recording. I have a daughter who wants to be a mom after she runs a daycare, so she gets to help care for her baby sister. It’s so fun to be a mom!

  50. 51) Deanna H

    This was my daughter’s first Disney movie…Ahhhh memories. She is an adult now, working on a college degree. I always encouraged her to follow her heart, “do what makes you happy and everything else will fall into place”. I’ve always been her biggest fan and supported her in anything she wanted to do. It wasn’t always easy, but the last thing I want is for her to look back and think “I wish I would have (done, tried, visited) _____, but I didn’t because of my mom.” She changed her degree four times before finding out what she was really passionate about, and it was a hard to watch her struggle with finding herself, but she finally did it.

  51. 52) leslie

    I let my kids know that i love that so much just because of who they are and that they never have to earn my love- it will always be there free flowing. So they can reach for the stars, knowing they already have LOVE, which tops all else.

  52. 53) Jenni Shaver

    We encourage our children to pray and ask God for what they want. If they really want something, we stop and pray right then that God’s perfect will is what will be done.

  53. 54) Mrs. Schmid

    My chidren are still young, so I encourage them to follow their dreams by always telling them that “anything is possible”. I make sure that they know that if they put their mind to something and follow it up with hard work, they can do anything!

  54. 55) Sara B.

    This movie also holds a special place in my heart. When it first came out I wanted to see it so bad. One day my Dad surprised me and took me to the movie theater to see it! He bought me gummy bears and was the happiest girl that day. Now I have my own little girl, and I know she would also love it.

    • 56) Sara B.

      Oh, and she is only 3 so it’s hard to explain how to follow your dreams, but will be teaching this to her by telling her she should always follow her passions in life.

  55. 57) Casey C

    We encourage our kids to follow their dreams by letting them see what they enjoy and where their talents are.

  56. 58) Ashlie

    My daughter, 5, always asks things like, “Mom, can I be a dog?”. And I say back, “You can be whatever you want to be, as long as you choose the right!”

  57. 59) Amber Towns

    I encourage my 2 boys to ask questions of anyone about anything. Anything they don’t understand or want to know more about I give them the opportunity to explore it.

  58. 60) Whitney

    I also had this whole movie memorized when I was a kid! I’d love to share it with my four year old daughter. She’ll probably get annoyed when I start singing. I don’t think I’ve watched the movie in its entirety in years! Can’t wait to see what it’s like as a grown (and mom of two)

  59. 61) Jennifer E

    My little girl LOOOVES Flounder so much. I’m very excited for this movie to come out again. Thank you for the post and giveaway.

  60. 62) Urvi

    My daughter is 3 years old, which is an amazing age. Every dream is possible. And we tell her that! We expose her to everything and anything she wants to do or try. Want to be a painter? Great! Strip down to your under and get painting! Want to be a dancer? Awesome! Turn up the music and dance around (and throw in a few ballet classes). Point is, we tell her she can try anything she wants and dreams.

    PS – TLM was my favorite Disney movie too!

  61. 63) Sara W.

    My kids are still very young (3 and 5) so there isn’t a whole lot of dream following. I do take into account what extracurricular activities they want to do. The biggest thing I had to let go (especially with my oldest) to allow them to be who they are is let them dress how they want. I love skulls, grey, black, and stripes. My daughter (5) loves pink, purple, and flowers. For the longest time I would buy the cutest Dia de los Muertos fabric and make her awesome clothes. But she would never wear them and it drove me crazy. But as soon as I took into account her style, we never had another problem. And it was hard for me to let go the vision of a cute little punk rock girl and embrace my totally girly (almost Victorian) child. And my little three year old son and I are currently going down the same path. I hope that when the time comes, I can let go of the really important things and let them be who they want.

  62. 64) sorahart

    I like to take the time to listen to why they are doing what they’re doing. Once I hear their reasoning, then I know how to best support them. I just need to work on the patience to make sure I do this every time. πŸ™‚

  63. 65) Kathy

    By making him do his homework! If he doesn’t learn the virtues of hard work in his childhood, the chances that he will learn them later are slim-to-none… πŸ˜‰

  64. 66) Stephanie

    The Little Mermaid will always hold a place in my heart, being that is was my ultimate favorite when I was a kid. My little girl fell in love with Ariel when she was 3 and is now 5 and still sleeps with her Ariel doll every night. There is definitely something to be said about the movie when it has a lasting hold on some many, young and old. There are a few lessons in the movie, but I think Lucy said it best. There needs to be a give and take with parents and their children which is so hard to see when you are in the situation as a parent.

  65. 67) April

    I loved this movie as a girl!! I watched it hundreds of times with friends, too, and we had the whole thing memorized. And the hours I spent in bathtubs and pools trying to make my hair flow out like hers… We have three very small kids, so dreaming with them right now usually involves talk about how to be a real-life superhero or Jedi knight. But my oldest, age 5, has been passionate about science for a couple of years now. We encourage his dream to be a scientist by exploring all kinds of areas of science with him, doing experiments together, reading, watching shows and documentaries that fascinate him, talking with him to people who work in science fields… I’m a nurse, so it does my heart good to hear him ask for a microscope for his fifth birthday! But even if his dreams change, we believe in exploring their interests with them (even if they’re not the things I might have been interested in on my own!).

  66. 68) Jenny Mom

    what a great post! I love the little mermaid as does my daughter and I never thought about it the way you said it. my kids are still very young (1 yr and 3yr) but I try to encourage them by letting them be themselves. Also, I let them know that when you want something you have to do something. Passion and Hard work will get you far in this life.

  67. 69) Katie Hess

    We encourage our kids to keep trying, most especially when something is hard for them. We want them to learn to master the small things, so as they grow they can know that even seemingly difficult obstacles can be overcome if they just keep working at it.

  68. 70) Kristi Andres

    My kids are 5, 5, 6, and 9 and I think that the best think I’m doing right now is home schooling them. They get opportunities all day long to learn with me and make choices about their learning. In fact today is the first day of school so I better get to it!

  69. 71) Zenobia

    With a 1 & 3 year old, following their dreams isn’t quite on the radar yet. Right now I feel like my biggest jobs are loving them and learning them. I have to pay close attention to notice not only what they like but also what abilities they naturally have.

  70. Oh my god, the little mermaid was my all time favorite movie when I was a kid. I so wanted to be Ariel en was very much in love with her gorgeous hair, and of course, with prince Eric! πŸ˜‰ I don’t live in the US so I can’t take part in the give-away but your news about the new release just made my day! My husband and I have been looking for de blue-ray or DVD version of the movie for years, but have never found it, hopefully this new release will mean we can finally pick it up! I would love for my (future) kids to see it! I don’t have any kids yet to help chase their dream, but I’ve had the perfect example. My parents always allowed me to go my own way en supported my to pursue my dreams en be all that I can be! They’re the best and I can only hope to do right by my kids, as they did by me!

    • by the way: my eldest sister-in-law has hair like Ariel, about the same shade of red en very full and beautiful! Jealous!

  71. 74) Amanda

    I will encourage my daughter to follow her dreams by letting her experience and try many things… also by not dismissing what she wants to try even if I think or know it won’t work out so well. Sometimes kids need to learn that for themselves.

  72. I encourage my 16 month old to EXPLORE! We shut the important doors, and he can run free. He loves the REAL stuff, so we often play with clothespins, ice cream buckets, etc. It’s so much fun to see what he comes up with.

  73. 76) Kimberly F

    I just try to show them I’m supportive no matter what the dream, and no matter how many times they change their minds! So far, my son has wanted to be a doctor, tap dancer, soccer player, and currently an astronomer. I try to help him visualize what it would be like, and let his imagination take it from there. (My daughter is 3, right now she doesn’t want to be anything but Hello Kitty when she grows up.)

  74. 77) courtney b

    by showing them anything is possible if you study hard and work for it πŸ™‚

  75. I have two littles and an 13 year old daughter so there is quite an age gap, so our encouragement comes in different forms. We always encourage them to try anything once. Even if it’s a little scary (jumping off the highdive) or crazy (dressing up to go see a movie like you are walking the red carpet), because you might never know what you missed in life if you’ve never tried it. I hope they grow to love adventure and experience the world so they have a full understanding of all it has to offer and that their dreams can take them anywhere!

  76. 80) Sara M.

    I encourage my children to follow their dreams by never, ever saying that they can’t do what they tell me they want to do when they get older. If they want to be a princess, then go ahead and work for that. If you want to “just” be a mom or dad, that’s cool. Even if they really won’t reach some of their dreams, there is no reason to place negativity and pessimism on them now. Let them dream, and let them try!

  77. 81) megan

    By providing opportunities and encouraging them to try lots of different things. I remind them frequently that they can do anything they want, if they work hard enough for it. I also believe it’s important to set an example of working hard for the things that we want.

  78. 82) Kandice

    I try to introduce our children to lots of different things. They are young right now and I want them to be able to learn about many things so they can find what they truly love. We also encourage them to go after things they enjoy and to learn new things every day.

  79. 83) Elena

    I encourage my son by supporting his ideas and teaching him to work hard

  80. 85) Annita

    I encourage my kids by praising even unsuccessful efforts and encouraging them to never give up. I also throw in a good dose of loving discipline so they learn how to be responsible citizens.

  81. 86) madi hugie

    I think playing pretend is a great way when they’re still you to encourage their dreams

  82. We have two girls (6 and 3) and we encourage them to follow their dreams but recognizing what they enjoy doing and helping them to do what it is they love to do πŸ™‚

  83. 88) Tabitha

    My girls are just babies but I like to encourage and compliment them as they do things. I also let them do things on their own and show them how to do new things.

  84. 89) Kimberly

    Beautiful post! I love how children see the world.

    I always thought my son would be really into music because his dad is a musician and I love music. However, he’s started drawing lately and it is amazing what he comes up with for a five year old! So we’ve put him in art classes and just keep buying as much paper and crayons as he needs. It’s not what I had expected, but I’m loving every minute!

  85. 90) Kristin H

    By telling them over and over that they can do anything, then holding their hand when things get rough.

  86. 91) Deborah

    There’s nothing wrong with gadgets and gizmos galore–it’s just not the most important thing. Life would be much much better if we could all see the beauty and wonder in a bent fork swirling in the water as gracefully as Nuriyev or Baryshnikov (thank you Disney animation artists!) But in the end, it’s love that matters the very most.

  87. 92) Sara

    By encouring them in their talents and helping them work through their areas of frustration.

  88. 93) The Mrs.

    I encourage the kids to read! Finding adventures in books helps them to figure out what calls to their hearts…and it makes them smart!

  89. 94) WendyP

    I tell my just three year old that she can totally take a space helicopter to play at the space park, in space. She can be a superhero with the power to help, and a cookie chef, and a flamingo. I tell her God has wonderful things planned for her, and how excited I am to watch her grow up to be a person he can use.

  90. Listen.
    I think you have it right. If we don’t listen we won’t even know what our kids dreams are.

  91. 96) Heather

    We encourage our kids to follow their dreams by supporting them with what ever they need. My daughter wants to be a Broadway actress when she grows up, so right now she’s auditioning all over the place. Couple that with dance lessons, and singing lessons, and rehearsals, and character shoes, and everything else that comes with it, it’s time consuming for us. But we’re giving her the tools she needs now (both acting related and time management) that she’ll need in the future πŸ™‚ (And when we make her clear the table, we tell her it’s practice for when she’s waiting tables and looking for her big break!)

  92. 97) Stephanie S

    My daughters are just 4 and 1 so right now their dreams are kind of whatever they want to do in the next moment. Most of the time I let them explore the “big” things.

  93. My kids dreams? My son (almost 2) wants to drive a car (doable) and my little girl wants to be a princess (less doable, although I suspect she just wants to wear pretty dresses, so again: doable!)
    Anyway, she’s a big fan of all the disney princesses (even though she has only seen cinderella and snowwhite), so Ariel would be a hit here! πŸ™‚

  94. 99) Amanda

    My kids are just toddlers; 1 and 3. My daughter can’t get enough of Disney and decides she is a different princess every day. To encourage them, I show excitement for what they are into, I clap incessantly at her performances in the living room, and I give them endless amounts of love. This is my family’s recipe for a great childhood.

  95. 100) Haley Grossman

    Honestly, I’ve never really thought about it too much….but I really try to let them just be who they are…with the hopes that they will never feel like who they are isn’t ok. My youngest boy loves pink…and lalaloopsy. when he asked for lalaloopsy dolls for his bday everyone wanted to know if they should “encourage” him by getting him one. I mean why the heck not? I figure he is who he is…and whatever that is going to be, I cant change that by buying him spiderman.
    grossmanhaley at gmail dot com

  96. 101) Libby Bonesteel

    I let them have them–they are sooo different than anything I can think up, it’s way more fun. My almost-three-year old’s current dream is to be a ballerina and princess at the same time. This tom-boy mom of her’s can’t possibly fathom where that dream took route, but we’re going with it!

  97. 102) Anita

    While my kids are still young, using guidelines and listening to them. I try by setting a good example. They can do whatever they set their mind too.

  98. 103) Ilene

    It’s kind of funny you are talking about the Little Mermaid. A friend of mine is having her 3 year old be Ariel for Halloween and I’m making her 2 year old a flounder costume. You know like one of those fat belly baby costumes – only instead of a monkey or whatever, a fish! I’m almost finished and I’m pretty stoked.

  99. I love The Little Mermaid! Great Movie. I encourage my kids, that what ever they want to do or be, do it well.

    I would love having this on DVD…I have the VHS version and don’t have a VCR anymore. Just can’t seem to let it go:(

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  100. 105) Katharine

    I encourage my kids to follow their dreams by supporting whatever their current dream is. (they are 3 and 5, it changes regularly). 5 year old wants to be a princess, little brother thinks he would like to be batman. “what qualities do you have that would help you be a good princess/batman”—the answers are usually awesome!!

  101. 106) Sara

    My kiddos are 3 and 6. Encouraging them to follow their dreams is more of a reminder that mistakes happen along the way. It’s important to get up and brush them off. For if they really want their dreams to come true they must keep trying even when the road gets too difficult and to always believe in themselves.

  102. 107) Michelle Harrison

    My kids are stil pretty little–so at the moment it’s more supporting their immediate imaginative play, which will I hope help them to dream!

  103. 108) Tammy

    My children are very young and at this age I encourage the use of their imaginations. Whatever characters they dream up, they can be — even if it is Jedi Optimus Prime. My hope is that as they get older they will transfer this idea and see that, with hard work and dedication, they can do or be anything they want.

  104. 109) Mad

    My little 3 yr old Avery LOVE, love, loves Ariel… and she’s never seen the movie! This would be awesome!

  105. 110) Andreea

    My parents encouraged me to follow my dreams and i am eternally grateful. i am trying to do the same with my kids. Oh and my daughter will looove to see Ariel in a few months! (when she’ll be old enough)

  106. I encourage my DD7 to follow her dreams by reminding her to keep an open mind — there are a lot more choices out there than princess or teacher or doctor. Find what you love first, then make the career out of that…

  107. We encourage our kids to follow their dreams by keeping things practical and realistic. I know my parents always said “you can be anything, do anything you want!” but then when it came time to go to college. They said “we don’t have the money”. And they hadn’t educated me about applying for scholarships or loans either. Anyway, we teach our kids the practical steps to reaching a goal. That there’s hard work and trials many times before you get to what you want.

  108. 113) Lisa

    I don’t tell her that the wheelbarrow is to heavy or the race is too far. If she wants to try, I walk behind her to wheel it if it gets too heavy or take a break with her if she wants to take a break. I don’t want to be the voice of reason telling her that she’s not strong enough or smart enough. I tell her to give it a shot. She probably knows her limitations better then I do. I’ll be there to help.

  109. 114) Tara

    We encourage our children by trying to only say “no” when it is necessary, and supporting them in everything they try.

  110. By allowing hem to do things “their” way–even if its not the way we would do it and by opening their little lives to many new and different experiences so they can learn what all is out there to choose from. By allowing them to make mistakes and learn from them instead of telling them always how to do things. And to always listen to them!

  111. I’m a little old for Ariel, but I remember my sister doing exactly this with Robin Hood! She watched it so many times that my entire family can quote the movie.

    I try to encourage my kids by giving them access to our books, art supplies, building toys, lessons (if they want them), etc., and free time to explore all of the above. And I let them say no to some things. While life skills are on the “must do” list (like, say, learning to swim well enough to avoid drowning in the local pool), sports or music lessons are good to try but not required. In the spring my son likes t-ball, and in the fall he prefers the Lego club. Ok by me.

  112. 117) Laura J.

    I love to notice when my daughter (2.5) seems interested or amazed by something and I tell her, “you know, someday YOU can do that too!” Then one day she saw a man cutting tile at Lowe’s, and she looked at me all wide-eyed and full of hope and said “I do that someday?” So I said, “yup. If you want to cut tile some day, you can totally do that.” She said “Oh, wow!” Magic moments. At Lowe’s. Kids are the best.

  113. My sister and I LOVED this movie when it came out in theaters! It would be great to get a copy of the Little Mermaid to watch with my two daughters!

  114. 119) Leigh

    Mine are little and today their dream was to build with the sofa cushions in their underwear. It is laundry day an wish granted!

  115. 120) Crystal Davis

    I watch and listen, then provide materials, time, and a place to create. I encourage growth with praise (both public and private) and i do not judge. So far, so good. They are creative, independent thinkers. Yay! I have allowed them freedom of expression in al things art (music, books) and fashion (clothes, hair) and tried to show by example how important this is to all of us. We must never lose our Voice!

  116. 121) Amanda

    My daughter Madison is going to be 6 years old in November. She is the most imaginative and creative little girl I have ever met. She expresses her creativity through her art. I encourage her by posting her masterpieces all over the house. She usually paints pictures of her dreams and magical places. Every picture has a story and when she is describing them to us her eyes shine with pride. Yes our house may seem a little messy to an outsider but I am a proud mommy and I just don’t have the heart to take them down.

  117. 123) Heather

    Right before I leave the bedroom they share, I ask my three girls variations of the “what are you grateful for” and “if you could do/be/go, what or where you do/be/go?” I am constantly surprised by what is in their hearts. Then that gives me an opportunity to get books on the subject, or even help them experience those things.

    I’m not such a good listener, so this has really revolutionized our relationship.

  118. My daughter is only 5 months old, so not a lot of dreams yet, but I appreciate your insight! For now, I’ll just encourage her to nap when she appears sleepy πŸ˜‰

  119. 125) Melissa H

    I encourage my children to follow their dreams by not insisting that they pursue any given extra curricular activity of my choosing, but rather let them tell me their interests, and support them, as much as is reasonable with that pursuit.

  120. 126) Alex B.

    Little Mermaid is my all time favorite Disney Movie and it is now my 2 year olds favorite too! I always tell my kids that they need to follow their dreams and do what will make them happy! ANything is possible if you put the work into it!

  121. I encourage my children by listening to them, reading to them, making them wonder, and playing with them. It’s true. Mom’s love is best!
    I remember The Little Mermaid playing in my Mexican private school once where English was our second language. Me, being of American descent, knew just a litttle bitty bit of English, and since the times I had watched Ariel sing we in English, I thought I was so cool because I knew the words to each song and understood what they were saying…
    Wow, blast from the past.
    To this day, my classmates from that ‘era’, still tease me about singing in class to The Little Mermaid.

  122. 128) Felicia

    My son is really into animals. He wants to work with them when he grows up. I try to encourage him as much as I can. Library books, documentaries, even family vacations based on his love of animals! Keeping my fingers crossed. I loved this movie as a child and would love to share it with my kiddos!

  123. 129) Kathy

    I listen to the things that they love and try to provide opportunities as I pray along the way how God might use their desires. One of my daughters LOVES dolphins even though she’s never seen one in person. She also loves the water. So we spend a lot of time at the pool, in rivers and swim lessons so that hopefully one day she can lifeguard, maybe teach swimming and build skills around the water since that is were dolphins live. And we get LOTS of books from the library about dolphins too.

  124. 130) Nicki

    My oldest is only 4, so his dreams include flying, becoming a superhero, and fighting ninjas, among other things. πŸ™‚ I just make sure to help him learn about whatever he happens to be interested in that day (space, underwater exploring, plants and animals, colors, etc.). I figure if he has an introduction to a lot of different subjects he’ll have much more scope for his imagination. πŸ™‚

  125. 131) Krista

    By fostering their interests and challenging them to give their best no matter what. By loving them unconditionally, being a soundboard for ideas and dreams, and letting them take personal responsibility through the success and sometimes the failure of the decisions they make.

  126. 132) Rana

    We try to expose them to as many different things as possible. We also try to include them in activities they have shown an interest in (if financially possible). I’m hoping this will helpthem to find their passion in life.

  127. 133) bdaiss

    Oh Ariel. How I love you and hate you. The message I most want my kids to AVOID in this movie is that you should give up your most fabulous talents for someone/something else. That “happily ever after” is the only ending (a problem I have with a number of Disney Princess movies). What I want both my kids to take from the movie is to follow your dreams, but don’t be tempted by “shortcuts”, don’t be confined by conventional limits, and listen to others (your peers, adults, etc). That those doubting you are probably just afraid. How do I encouragement my kids? Helping them find ways to push their limits whether it’s gymnastics, reading, or making up stories. Develop their dreams and find little ways to make them more real.

  128. 134) Julie

    We encourage our children by loving them and supporting them no matter what “their best” looks like.

  129. Ariel is my daughters current favorite princess… but we have not watched it in a very long time. She would love it if one showed up in the mail!!

  130. 136) Kellytf

    He’s just 4 months old, but I will make sure he follows his dreams! His dad is great example for him, who left his well paying job to become a martial arts instructor, but he loves going to work every day and that is worth all the money in the world.

    I think I was about 10 when I saw Little Mermaid in the theaters with my dad. We loved it so much that he said we can just stay in the theater and watch it again. So we did. Such a fun memory!

  131. That is precious!! We are huge Disney fans over here. My son is two, and out of nowhere he has picked up this skeleton craze. Everything is skeletons. At first I was worried, then a little embarrassed. (It’s weird having your toddler shout: “a skeleton!” in a crowded store and have all the parents look at you like – what on earth have you been teaching that kid?) After a whole year of this though, I have learned a little bit about compromise. We went to the library and checked out all of the books about skeletons, and now my little boy can point to all of his bones and tell you several of their proper names, like the cranium and phalanges. It’s turned into a fun ritual and he has learned a lot, too! So, I guess I’m saying, you can’t choose your kids’ dreams, but you can shepherd them along and help them find the positive directions in their passions. Sorry that was so long!

  132. 138) Amanda

    my girls are 12 and <1 month so i haven't had much practice with this yet, but i try to encourage what my older daughter seems to like. she has loved music since she was a month or two old so we let her play with the keyboard and put on CDs for her. i think that it's important to listen to them since their desires can always change. (who knows, music could just be a phase for her.)

    • 139) Amanda

      *12 months and <1 month

  133. 140) sarapete

    I provide them with lots of learning opportunities and always encourage them to do their best.

  134. My children are still very young but I try to encourage them to try lots of new things and to find ways to explore the ones they really love and connect with.

  135. 143) Whitney

    I encourage my kids to be creative and that their opinion matters above all else.

  136. We talk with my oldest about what she wants to be when she grows up, and tell her we’ll pray with her to know God’s special plan for her life.

  137. 145) Sarah

    We help our kids follow their dreams by helping them set goals and then supporting them as they try and reach them!

  138. 146) Paige Holliday

    Since my kiddos are just 3 & 4 I always play pretend with them and let them explore beig different people and characters.

  139. 147) Whitney C

    We try to encourage our kids to follow their dreams by encouraging them to try new things and praising them when they succeed and help them understand that it’s okay if they don’t do well or don’t like what they try.

  140. 148) Meghan

    I don’t have kids yet, but I nanny kids that are 5 and 6. I would say discuss dreams and goals in a positive way, but with plenty of guidance and advice available.

  141. 150) Celeste

    My kids are a bit young for dreams, but I’ve started by making sure I don’t buy those shirts that say “future doctor” and stuff. I think I need to start right now letting them make choices that will help bring them happiness.

  142. 151) erin w

    My little girls are 5 and 1 1/2, and we’ve been trying lots of new things to find out what our dreams might be. I figure, that if they find what they love at a young age, then they will have had lots of time to cultivate their interests. Plus, any activity that we pick is better than lots of screen time. We’ve been swimming this summer a lot, and going on nature walks. Now that preschool has started, i’ve been taking the baby jogging, and we’ve been planning more hikes in different places now that the weather is cooler. When it get’s too cold outside, i plan on teaching my 5 year old to sew something simple for herself : )

  143. Great question!
    The best way we can encourage our 3 girls to follow their dreams is simply to model it ourselves. At 33 years old, my husband changed careers and followed his dream of going to medical school to become a surgeon. And I, at 33 years old, and while being a stay at home mom, decided to follow my dream of teaching yoga. I got my certification during a busy time for our family, but managed to get all the work done and finish on time…and am now teaching! We try to figure out how our kids are made or designed…their dispositions, personality, likes/dislikes, talents and encourage those to come out. Each of our daughters is SO very different! We just want them to end up doing what we feel God has designed them for. Actions are louder than words πŸ™‚

  144. 154) EJC

    Hands down my FAVORITE Disney movie. I can’t wait to watch it with my kids!!!

  145. 155) Erin S.

    I was 8 when Little Mermaid came out, and I was terrified of Ursula. I still think she is the scariest disney villain! πŸ™‚ I can’t wait for the movie to come out again so I can share it with my little princess-obsessed four year old.

  146. 156) Jennifer

    I encourage my kids to imagine as much as possible…play is so important for children to help them develop their likes and dislikes and also to explore their dreams and goals. One of my little girls loves anything Paris – she wants to go there someday…I decorated her room in a Parisian theme…another one loves dancing – hers is a ballet theme.

  147. 157) Carolyn Thornley

    I encouraged our kids to follow their dreams by asking them to draw their future home. One room was called the “family home evening” room. Very fun to see what they imagined for themselves.

  148. 158) chandra

    My kids aren’t quite old enough to know what their dreams are yet, but I try to help my oldest follow his interests when possible. That will probably lead to him finding his dreams

  149. 159) Ellen barth

    My kids are grown now, ages 28,25 & 22. Yikes! I have always encouraged them to do what interests them. My 25 year old recently did just that. He went to law school, recently graduated and just got a job with the NY State Senate, his dream kind of job. Help them to do what they love!

  150. Annie doesn’t know what she wants in her future (other than it has to be…. PINK… But she’s only 2 still. We encourage lots of play and imaginative art/creation/play time. She has access to blocks, trucks, dolls, and dress up clothes. We try not to stereotype the gender roles, but I have to admit- I think every piece of clothing has purple or pink on it somewhere, much to my dismay.
    I think when she’s older, we’ll just try to encourage her to try things out and find her own way.

  151. 161) Nicole J.

    Ariel has the best music to belt out – now both my 4 year old and I can sing out loud and proud. We love Sebastian as a character to talk about too – he means very well in trying to protect her, but in meddling also finds himself (almost) in hot water! It’s great to see it through adult eyes and catch all the fantastic lessons to be learned about courage, love, happiness, family, etc.

  152. 162) Christina

    I start out by listening! It’s the only way to know what their dreams are and be able to help them along.

  153. 163) Emily

    I think that it’s important to encourage whatever they want to be. I try not to throw down any of their ideas but support them and tell them if they work hard at it they can do it.

  154. 164) Sara Duff

    My Leah is only 3 but I feel like by listening to her and validating the things she sees and talks about and responding to her it encourages her every day.

  155. I often encourage my son by asking what he wants. It could be fabric, food, or an activity but he usually gets a choice.
    We love this movie! And my son ask to go on the ride every time at disneyland… I loved lucys answer!

  156. 166) Sara

    We are a “try your best” family. You can try new things and take risks. You don’t have to like everything you try and it’s okay to change your mind. But no matter what, we always give it our best shot. And we try to show this by example of actions, not just words.

  157. 167) Meagan Cook

    I have try to follow my daughters lead when it comes to things she want to try or do. If she’s interested in it, we try to find a way to make it happen so that she can explore her interests.

  158. 168) Chiara Aldridge

    When my kids are interested in something, I let them go for it and try it out. I try to be supportive and help them see things about their decisions, but let them make the decisions.

  159. 169) Corrine

    We watched this recently and my kids loved it and didn’t want to return it! We’d love to have our own copy and winning it would be just that much cooler. Thanks for the chance!

  160. 170) Danielle

    My boys are a month shy from being 6 and 1, with a newbie on the way, and I encourage the big guy’s dreams by listening to them and allowing him to be as creative and imaginative as possible.

  161. 171) Jessica To

    I try to introduce my son to new things and encourage him to never give up on anything.

  162. 172) Sara

    We never shut down our kids dreams. We tell them they can be anything they want to be if they are willing to work hard. So far it is a vet and a fashion designer!

  163. 173) Laura

    Allowing them to peruse their own interests and try things their own way is big in our house.

  164. My kids are still little, so I just let them use their own imagination. And I love telling them about crazy jobs they can have when they grow up. Like “did you know you could grow up and be in charge of yellow crayons in the crayon factory?” “You could grow up be the person that invents cookie flavors!!” They mostly just think I’m crazy, but someday they might appreciate it.

  165. 175) Jenea

    We encourage our kids dreams but exposing them to as many experiences as we can. From modern art museums to volunteer opportunities and everything in between, we try and show them that there is a world full of things to try and support them in every endeavor they are interested in. We start when they are little to plant those seeds of inspiration early and often.

  166. 176) Becca

    My little men are only 2 years old and 10 months old, but I love to see them learn and explore the world around them. I hope that I can be as fascinated when they are 10 and 12.. and even encourage them to look at things they might not otherwise look at.

  167. 177) laurie

    My daughter is almost 2, so I don’t think she would quite understand yet what it means to follow her dreams. But when she’s ready, I would want to encourage her to know God and to be secure in her identity as His child and that her dreams will be fulfilled in His will and timing.

  168. 178) biao

    We take our daughter to see different things and we tell her that we will be very proud of her as long as she tries hard at things she does.

  169. 179) Bree

    I don’t have children, but if I did I’d encourage them follow their dreams by being open to trying new things.

  170. 180) Patty T

    We encourage our children to follow their dreams by letting them we fully support whatever decision they make. we discuss everything. Communication is big for us. With two girls aged 6 & 7 we just want them to be secure, confident and determined in whatever they pursue.

  171. 183) Leanne

    My son is just 2, but I encourage him to follow his dreams by giving him lots of different kinds of experiences to help him figure out what things he loves and what his dreams are. So far some favorites are swimming, horses, big trucks and musical theater πŸ™‚

  172. My kids are still really young, so they don’t even know there are dreams to be had…however, we talk a lot about making sure we’re ok no matter what our kids like.

  173. We encourage them to try lots of different things to see where their passions and gifts are. We encourage lots of opportunities to just imagines and create and try to encourage them in their pursuits, instead of laughing at them or telling them it is not possible. Thanks for the chance!

  174. 186) Evelyne

    My kids are still little (2 and 4) but i always listen and encourage creativity…like jumping in the book and join the story.i wantto know that even if something looks silly maybe it is still worth trying.

  175. 187) Amanda

    My kids are still pretty little (19 mo and 3 years) so they don’t do much expressing of their dreams. I do try, though, when they show an interesting in things to support that. Rather than try to change the subject when they won’t shut up talking about it already (for what feels like 6 hours straight), I try to listen and be interested and talk to them intelligently about it-ask questions, respond thoughtfully to theirs, etc-rather than just ‘mm-hm’ and ‘that’s nice, dear’ the conversation.

  176. 188) Matteson

    Love this! Your daughter’s interpretation of the movie was so precious! My punks are still little (18 months and 3 years), so with that being said I like to get them to experience different activities and try new things every day to see what engages them. Nothing drives me crazy more than sitting around with nothing to do! So we stay busy with our play group, but also dabble in gymnastics, soccer and lots of arts and crafts!

  177. 189) Abbie

    We encourage our kids to follow their dreams by letting them create (even when it is messy!) and always believing in them.

  178. 190) Gina

    We encourage our kids to follow their dreams by allowing them to try new things and have new experiences. Life can get crazy with activities and 4 kids, but I want them to be able to find something they love and are passionate about, whether it be in an organized event or sport, or just painting with watercolors at the dining room table!
    And, I LOVE The Little Mermaid…favorite princess, hands down. Although, Rapunzel came along and is pretty spectacular, too!

  179. 191) Sarah

    We encourage our kids by telling them & showing them that what they think & feel is important.

  180. 192) Tanis

    my son is 2.5 and when he shows interest in something I try to encourage him in his pursuit. My daughter is 5 and has a neurological disorder called Rett Syndrome. Many daily things we take for granted are things she would love to be able to do, like talking and climbing stairs for example… I encourage and support her in any way I can, if she show interest in certain music or specific toys I will have them available and work with her to accomplish even the smallest things like being able to go down a slide by herself!

  181. 193) Margaret

    We encourage our daughter when we can and also realize that we will be there if things don’t work out

  182. We encourage and give our children lots of time to create and use their imaginations. We also verbally reinforce they can do anything. Thanks for the opportunity to win this!

  183. 195) Rebecca

    I do what I can to get my kids involved in activities. That way they can find what they enjoy and what they dream about doing for a long time to come.

  184. 196) Amanda C

    I love this post. I was actually just thinking today about how I can work on letting go of control a little more to let my kids explore and be free to create more. They’re still little, but they need some space. Thanks for a giveaway too!

  185. 197) caymanali

    The best thing we can do is to help them discover theirs strengths, whatever they are and help them build them into talents.

  186. 198) Yuki

    Our kids are still very small (the older one is turning three soon), but whatever they show interest in, we try to be excited with them!

  187. 199) Kim J

    Love this! My kids haven’t seen the movie (yet!) but they know – and LOVE – all the songs!!

    • 200) Kim J

      I encourage my kids to dream big, they can do anything!! And when they aren’t the best at one thing, they will be better with practice…this is something we are learning every day.

  188. 201) Connie

    I have a 43 year old daughter and a 23 year old son. Yikes!!! Yep, 20 year difference between my kiddos. Both of my children are fantastic adults…my daughter a fantastic mom. What did I do as a parent? Loved them, supported whatever they wanted to do but yet had firm rules (kids need boundaries). I am blessed.

  189. 202) Holly

    My daughter is 1.5, and I am pregnant with #2 … so this is definitely something I have thought about! I watch great parents around me and hope that I can help my girl (and this new baby) find her talents and gifts and follow her dreams!

  190. 203) Jesica

    I allow them to be kids. Just max out their creativity and let them dream big. I feel like our culture stomps on big dreams so I want my kids to honestly feel like they can do ANYTHING they dream up. πŸ™‚

  191. I try to encourage my girls’ dreams by always quizzing them about what makes them happy and why. Hopefully that will lay the foundation for their future.

  192. 205) tiffany

    my kids are 7 & 12, so i encourage both of them equally, but also throw in an extra dose of reality for the older one… such as a gentle reminder that it will be very difficult to become a professional baseball player if he doesn’t practice (hard & often!), or that actors don’t just get paid millions of dollars to hang out & go to movie premieres – they study lines and research characters and work very hard too. life should be joyful, fun & fulfilling, but it also takes dedication & work!

  193. 206) Robyn

    My kids are still fairly young, but one of the things I try to do is keep my voice neutral whenever they express a desire to do something. It is so easy to let my own prejudice slip in if I’m not careful (which I’m not always – it’s a work in progress).

  194. 207) Tami Vollenweider

    I would encourage my son to do whatever he wanted to,for his self and not for me. Enjoy it and have fun!

  195. 208) Cammie

    I try to help them figure out what they want and help them have experiences with their interest. My oldest (7) wants to be a dog trainer when he grows up. I took him to the house of a man I know and he was able to watch him train his police and military dogs. He’s now questioning the career choice, but if he wants to train dogs we have made a contact.

  196. The little mermaid was my favorite movie as a child. My son saw a production of it at the theater and loved. He’s been asking for the movie. I love the lessons Disney movies teaches everyone of all ages. Lucy sure is special coming up with an answer like that.
    I loved this post.

  197. This is one of my favorite movies of all times. And now I actually have a red-head (daughter) who happens to look just like Merida -Not really Ariel:)
    http://www.falafelandthebee.com/2013/08/28/i-made-a-costume-and-it-isnt-even-halloween-yet/
    I try to encourage both our girls to find their voices mostly by standing back and listening.
    We also try to provide opportunities to nurture their interests (like fiddle playing and archery and gymnastics). Especially those interests that help others (see above post).
    ~Michelle

  198. 211) evitafjord

    We encourage our kids to follow their dreams with words and actions. Verbally we encourage them to try new things so that they can discover their dreams and once they find something to love, we support them and show up for them at games and performances and competitions. And we post it all on the FB so that far away friends and relatives can support them too πŸ™‚

  199. 212) Jen

    The Little Mermaid is my absolute favorite Disney movie. I have loved it for many years. When I heard is was coming “Out of the Vault” I probably whooped louder than my girls….

    Leading into that…. my kids are still pretty young my oldest is almost 7, then it goes down from there 5 1/2, 4 and almost 2. But I do let them dig into their dreams the best I can, we talk about and learn about the activity or their interest. Read books, watch videos, talk to people who do it or we just go ahead and try it.

    I tell my kids …. “You won’t ever find out if it’s for you unless you do/try it”. It seems to work here, I have also found actually modeling it works too, its a great way to show your kids to follow your dreams. I’m running in my 1st 5K this weekend, if it wasn’t for them and my husband encouraging me I probably would have let it past me by.

  200. 213) Katrina Simon

    I don’t have biological kids, but I encourage my church youth group to be themselves, ask questions (respectfully of course) and find their hearts desire that makes them happy and shows God’s love to others too!

  201. I encourage the babes by telling them to always do their best, encouraging them when things don’t go well or when something doesn’t go as planned, by providing them with lots of learning opportunities so that they can formulate a dream, by teaching them to be practical but not so cautious that they never try anything new.

  202. 215) Joelle

    I always smile and agree when they tell me what they want to be when they grow up, even when my 4 year old son spent this summer wanting to be a circus clown when he grows up … hey, at least it’s fitting for his personality! πŸ˜‰

  203. 216) jordan

    I encourage my children to try new things. πŸ™‚

  204. 217) Maureen

    Ask my 5-year old about her life “dreams” and she will tell you that she has “always dreamed of becoming a princess!” Good luck with that one! πŸ˜‰ I remind her that the best thing she can do is to be HER very best – the princess thing will have to work itself out.

  205. 218) sandy b

    I have only one little girl right now, she is 2 months. So teaching is a little tough but we talk to her all the time telling her she is loved and she can do her best, and that she has a family who loves her very much too. But I plan to do what my mom and dad did for us kids. They helped us by showing interest in what we loved and helped us to find ways to develop this, either lessons, or just time playing with some expensive equipment (supervised of course.)

  206. 219) Vicky P

    One way that my husband and I try to encourage our children to follow their dreams is when they have disappointment we look for a way to turn it into a lesson that helps them along their way always learning and improving. Love this movie.

  207. 220) stephani

    I encourage my kids to embrace what they live and always do their best.

  208. My little one is two so right now I let her try anything and everything and see what she likes best. Whatever she finds and interest in I help her to explore t more. It may sound silly but I really wanted her to be in dance but I could tell she really enjoyed gymnastics more so I set aside my selfishness and let her continue to grow her love for gymnastics. She looks forward to going every week.

  209. 222) Andrea

    If I see something that my kids love (math for my son, dance and music for my daughter), I try my hardest to find little ways that they can use it and enjoy it every day. Counting random things, making up songs about whatever we’re doing. Reminding them that they can do anything with the things they enjoy. πŸ™‚

  210. I can see some of the talents my children have and I try to encourage them and give them opportunities to develop them. Although, I have learned that we need to find a better balance when it comes to doing so much stuff.

  211. 224) Heather

    We try to let our kids experience all different kinds of things, art class, different sports, fishing, skiing, etc. so that they can learn what they like.

  212. 225) karla

    Be a confident mother. Show them that YOU yourself have followed your own dreams. Example is powerful. Encourage them when they’ve found something they love. Don’t push.

  213. 226) Courtney

    Talking to them about their future from a young age. So they know from very young that their choices are very important. And speaking positive, exciting and encouraging about their future/ambitions.

  214. 227) Aesha

    Wow, I’m a true lover of this movie as well. My sister and I memorized the songs too and we used to sing to the kids in our Head Start classroom (I was a teacher she was teacher assistant) , they were beyond amazed πŸ™‚ Well definitely now being a mom of 3, I think it is so important that I encourage my children to follow there dreams and let them know that I will be there to support them and help them achieve their goals. Open communication is so important in our family so I always make sure my children know they can come to me if they want to talk about anything, even if its about the latest fashion trend or hairstyle, lol.

  215. I encourage my children to follow their dreams by starting conversations with them about what they want to do and setting an example by chasing my own.

    Thanks for the chance!

  216. 229) AmyL

    My oldest is only 3 but i let him go on with his imagination. i always agree and ask him additional details and love how he responds each time. thanks for hosting the giveaway!

  217. 230) LeAnn

    When my kids talk about their crazy dreams of owning a restaurant called “Chicken Nuggets Only” where they will sell… only chicken nuggets, I let them dream and imagine without telling them “people like variety.” ha ha Of course, the next night we are eating hamburgers and the dream of opening “Hamburgers Only” starts being talked about…. I guess we just let them imagine. At their age, there is no need to talk about reality on something that really will not be an issue in 15 years or so.

    I loved The Little Mermaid in the olden days and loved to perch myself on my friends front yard rock and sing like Ariel! Your little Lucy is a smart little girl! <3

  218. 231) jessica

    My childhood dreams were lovingly fostered by my parents. Although I chose to live a different dream in the end, I learned a lot by working hard at my other loves in life. Teaching children to work hard to make their dreams come true is so important. No dream can come true without an unbelievable work ethic!

    LOVE LOVE LOVE me some LIttle Mermaid.

  219. 232) amy pugmire

    My daughter loves to dance and so I asked her if she wanted me to put her in dance class and she was so excited and she loves it! I try to encourage and stay positive in whatever she is interested in.

  220. 234) diana

    My children are grown and now have 1 grandson and granddaughter sue in Nov. We always encouraged our children to try anything and everything, but also to they had to follow through. if they tried soccer they had to play the entire season even if they didn’t like it as the team was depending on them. My oldest daughter loved the Little Mermaid and I’d love to give her a copy. Thanks for the giveaway. Always follow your dreams. We had a saying “shoot for the moon, even if you miss you are among the stars”

  221. 235) Amy G.

    We try and pay attention to the things that make our daughters excited and then give them the opportunity to develop those talents. Sometimes it’s through dance classes and other times it is by spending more time with them doing art projects or reading. We’ve found it’s also important to expose them to new things so they can have a variety of experiences and maybe find talents they didn’t know were there.

  222. 236) Kristen K

    Such a sweet comment by Lucy!
    I help my kids follow their dreams by trying to remind them often who they are and discussing our goals and dreams. I don’t care what exactly they do or where they end up but I do know the things that bring happiness in my life and I share those important things with them often

  223. 237) Judy Forkner

    My kids are all grown up. They’ve learned to live their lives by choosing lifestyles that are important to them–making lots of money won’t make them happy if they can’t do what they love!

  224. Great post! Ariel was after my time but I felt the same about Cinderella. My kids are all grown, but I read an amazing book I found for like $5 on a discount shelf when I was PG . It completely changed how I thought about parenting. It’s called, “Your Child’s Self Esteem” by Dorothy Briggs and it totally speaks to balancing your child’s needs with your own. Seriously, we never had tantrums, we never had the terrible twos, we never had teenage drama, we never had any of the horrors I hear about rebellious children. All from how that book talked about balance. I gave the book to my son and DIL when they were expecting and they are employing the same tactics with great success. Or maybe it’s under the short leg of their couch – I’m not sure. It’s still out on Amazon with 4.5 stars after all these years.

  225. 239) Cindy

    Thank you for such a great post and read this morning. My son is 10 and he wants to play MLB, become a zoologist and minister to children. My response is let’s go to the batting cage, read about all animals and visit our zoo in ohio and we just started serving in our nursery together at our church. Yep we are busy however we are together!

  226. 240) Tonya

    My kids are a little older (17,13,11,8). We are a “follow your dreams” type of family, but the most recent one is this…My oldest is a junior in high school. She has decided that she would like to be a cosmetologist when she “grows up”. There is a technical college near us that offers concurrent enrollment for high school students. She decided she wants to take classes so that when she graduates, she will be mostly finished with her Cosmetology licensing. When we approached her school counselor about her starting these classes when she started school, he advised her not to take them yet, because her junior year would “be hard enough as it was. You have to do a lot of work to get into college.” (Um, DUH, she wants to start her “college” NOW!) She really wanted to start now, and thought she could handle it. Her dad and I talked with her about it at great lengths, and talked about how much work it would be, but also how close she would be to finishing by the time she graduated. We told her we would support her in whatever she decided. She went ahead and enrolled in the classes. and LOVES it; she has made some great new friends, and is quite gifted in her area of study (hair and makeup…guess all that dress-up when she was small paid off!). I’m glad she is so happy with it, and I’m glad we chose to encourage her to spread her wings and do what she dreamed!

  227. 241) Delia

    My children are 3 and 5, and are always dreaming!!! πŸ™‚ I like to sit with them and dream together about why and how they can make these dreams come true… it’s funny, and imagination is free!!!. I encourage them leaving freedom to imagine and not disturbing them with impediments…. cause… all is possible!! and sometime if the dreams are not really reliable… the answer i like the most is: why not? who knows?

  228. 242) Kathy K.

    We encourage our kids (2yo & 5yo) to follow their dreams by following our own. Whether it is going on a amazing trip, volunteering for a ministry or changing jobs, we pray about it, talk about it, and then we take the leap of faith and trust in God. Our kids have seen us make significant changes in our lives to step in the direction of our dreams. As they grow older, we’ll remind them to make sure their dream is aligned with God’s plan for their lives and then take the jump…and give real life examples of when we did it ourselves.

  229. 243) NiCaam

    Just listen, listen, listen. Don’t try to supercede, brush off, or demean what they are saying. I have a 7, 4 and 1 yr. old. I also visit a knitter’s website, and she thanks her stars for knitting because it gave her something to do to keep her quiet while her kids talked to her. Opinions, suggestions, they’re very good, but to me attentive listening is what I’m always working on. God knows I better try to perfect the skill to prep for their teenage years.

  230. I have 2 boys, one is five and the other is 14 months.
    I listen. Always listen. I want to be an example of following my own dreams so that my sons know that anything is possible.

  231. 245) Jodi

    I encourage my kids to follow their dreams by really listening to them and not pushing MY dreams on them. Sometimes this is very hard to do!

  232. let them try as many things as they want and not be judgmental

  233. 248) Jennifer F.

    I let the girls try what interests them, even if its just at home or threw a Girl Scout patch. We have been known to research it on the Internet to learn more. if then they are then ebpven more excited and intetested, we are even willing to get a few private lessons to officially try it out and learn more. It may be painting, swimming or playing a violin. I’m very hands on and want them to experience new things as much as possible.

    I don’t want them to grow and wonder if they missed out because their parents weren’t supportive or didn’t show an interest and held them back.

    Besides, I love the look on their faces and the twinkle in their eyes when they learn new things. It melts my heart to see them so happy and full of joy.

    Love your post..I need to have us rewatch it for family night.

  234. Right now I’m teaching my grandson how to follow his dreams. Encouraging his imagination and responding to his creativity is a huge part of dreaming!! Also, I think it’s important for kids to see adults follow their dreams and to hopefully realize one or two! I don’t think my Max has seen The Little Mermaid, time to get it out and dust it off for him! Thanks for the great post!

  235. 250) Lisha

    I tell my daughters that they have the creator if the universe living inside of them and that means that they can do anything that They dream up. With His help they’re unstoppable.

  236. 251) Jennifer

    I have little ones so we just encouraging dreaming. My 3 year old comes up with the craziest things, but I figure that is creativity that can be harnessed when she is a bit older. We remind them regularly that family and God come before anything else…and they remind us the same.

  237. 252) Natasha

    My kids are young enough still that I just want them to know that the options are open and endless for them….and that they should have fun doing whatever they want to try!

  238. 253) Bethany

    How fun! I LOVED that movie also! So much! My kids have not seen it yet, so I would love to win the combo pack. Thanks for the great review.

  239. 254) Rachel Fullmer

    At some point we just have to allow our children to make their own choices, and hope and pray that we have done enough in the way of teaching them right from wrong. My 16 yr old will be leaving for college in a few years and I just think to myself, “Is there anything else I need to prepare her for before she goes?” Ultimately I think that if we have built up a relationship where we communicate and understand each other things will be fine.

  240. 255) Shelly

    My kids are still very young, but even at such a young age, I try to be open and encouraging to what my daughter says she wants to do as an adult. Teacher? Sure! Policewoman? Why not? If you want to work hard and pursue a path, go for it!

  241. 256) monica b.

    I’m a mermaid obsessed grown up! I love Ariel. I guess my daughter would love the movie too, but we might fight for it.
    Thanks!

  242. Delightful post! I love Disney!! We were frequent visitors there when my daughter was growing up. I encouraged her to follow her dreams by exposing her to everything I could. We didn’t have a lot of money, but we sure had a lot of fun adventures and learning experiences. As a single mom on a very tight shoestring, my hope was to lead by example and show her that ‘the world was her oyster’!

  243. 258) Jenn

    Letting go of them and letting them explore and experience the world is soooo hard…but it’s the only way they learn to love what they love. I am learning from my children that the world is different than I remember it being. My 9 year-old son wanted a My Little Pony backpack this year. Hot pink and covered in ponies. I shuddered to imagine the bullies holding him upside down over a toilet in some dark bathroom in the school, but I took a breath and smiled, and got it for him. No issues. The world is different. As much as the kids are experiencing new things, and living their adventures, I get to learn and grow too. So maybe Ariel should have taken some of Dad’s advice, but Dad should also open himself up to change. The world is different. It keeps changing, even if we remain stubbornly stuck to our spot.

  244. 259) Kimberly

    When our kids have a dream, we discuss and research it and talk about all the things they could so with that dream. My oldest lives designing clothes, so we sit down and draw clothes, talk about what types of people would wear them, and then she has a “store” where you can purchase her designs. It’s a lot of fun!

  245. Right now, my 7 year old’s dream is to get a dog. Uggggh. We’re holding off as long as we can. πŸ™‚ With my older children, we exposed them to many different activities/interests first, then when they found something they loved and felt passionate about, we supported them all the way. With our sons, we sat through about a million and a half baseball games, gave them private lessons with pros or baseball camp for their birthdays and other special occasions, signed up for fundraisers, etc., etc., etc. It was a pain a lot of the time, but I can honestly say, now that my boys are grown, we miss it. Neither went on to play, but there were lessons learned that they still live by.

  246. 261) Cathleen

    we never tell them something is “too hard” or impossible… They have a natural spirit, and as long as we don’t get in the way, they’ll follow it.

  247. 262) ashley

    I don’t want to push anything upon my children. However, I do require that they get involved with something they enjoy and to try new things. I keep an opened mind about my childrens dreams and teach them that with hard work and dedication they can be anything they want to be. We all have our own dreams for our children and what we think they should do but we have to remember they have their own dreams too! Keeping an opened mind is key to letting them follow their dreams.

  248. 263) claire

    Let them make their own choices!

  249. 264) AmyLou

    This is part of the reason we homeschool – to allow our children the time to explore the things they are interested in and figure out who they are and what life’s all about. We have 4 kids and not a lot of money, but we let them explore and try what we can. My oldest wanted to learn to knit like me, and I’ve showed him the basics. He doesn’t keep it up regularly, but there are times when he’s just in the mood to knit. He’s also really into Mickey and karate. All my children have different loves and try different things all the time. My oldest girl is 4, and she adores My Little Pony. She’s started building her own houses and furniture for her ponies with Legos and making them clothes out of things she finds around the house. If I can encourage their imagination and boost their confidence, I try. They are all fiercely independent, and the girls at least, love Ariel, too!

  250. 265) sabrina

    I encourage my kids dreams by never saying no. They come to me with a wild request, “I really want a pet goat. Can we move to a farm?” Instead of, “No! Daddy couldn’t get to work from a farm. How silly!” I reply, “A farm? Wow. I think of that sometimes too. What else would live on the farm?”

  251. 266) Cami

    Right now I think my 10-month-old’s dream is to chew through every single one of the books on her bookshelf πŸ™‚

    My mom did a great job of giving her kids a change to be exposed to different activities. When we wanted to quit soccer or gymnastics she encouraged us to weigh out the pros and cons. She didn’t force us to do anything we weren’t interested in, but she also didn’t let us give up before we really gave things a fair trial. I hope we can be the same way with our daughter. I also hope we can teach her great moral and religious values so that as she determines her own dreams we can feel confident that she’ll be headed in a good direction.

  252. 267) Jess

    Understanding. It’s so wonderful that sometimes the answers to big questions could be so simple. I loved this movie as a kid and my daughter does as well. We own it on VHS, but don’t have a way to watch it!

  253. 268) Suzanne Anderson

    Loved the little mermaid when I was young too! This was a fun post to read. As far as the question goes…we just talk about what our kids love and want to do, and then discuss what goals we can have to reach them. For example my 5 year old wants to be a power ranger when he grows up, and he came up with the goals:eating good food, exercising, and being a good person. Love that boy!

  254. 269) Ashley

    My littles are still little (1 and 4) but I try to remind them that they are awesome just the way they are! With my 4 year old especially, I try to have fun being girly with her through dress up and painted nails then have her help me wash the car or weed the flower beds. I try to show her that there is no specific thing she needs to be as a girl….but that she should be herself. I hope that that will help her when she is deciding which path to choose in life!

  255. 270) Tyree

    I try and let them make up their own games, and try to find good in whatever it is they are wanting to do.

  256. 271) Jeanie

    As the mother of a grown children, I’ve realized that a mother continues to be an encourager forever. My conversations with my children often allow them to think about what their dreams are or how they’re changing. And they do the same for me. Never stop considering the possibilities!

  257. 272) Tami Brown

    Lucy is mature beyond her years!!!
    When my girls were little (they are now 24 & 29), they absolutely LOVED The Little Mermaid. It would be awesome to watch it with my grandchildren now. I am glad that I’ve always encouraged all my children to follow their dreams. And it’s never too late to make that dream come true!
    Thanks for the opportunity to win.

  258. My child is only 18 months old, but I guess how I let her follow her dreams is to try and be a “yes mom” (Majorie Hinkley has talked about this and my mom has always tried to be a ‘yes mom’.). If my daughter wants to go outside for a walk, then I’ll drop what I’m doing so I can spend time with her doing what she loves.

  259. 274) Amy Osborne

    I have two girls ages 3 and 7 months. I plan to encourage them by allowing them to grow and learn in a positive and loving environment. We want to introduce them to as much as we can and let them decide what they love and are inspired by.

  260. 275) Stephanie Davies

    I have four kids. Texas (7), Truxton (6), Gatlin (4), and Brigham (3m). They make every day of my life special. My daughter Texas is a dreamer and I’ve always loved pushing her to dream big and still believe in magic. She just knows that someday she will finally find a unicorn. The best way I have found to encourage my kids’ dreams is to spend time with them and find out what they love and what they are good at. We can’t encourage and help build them up until we truly know them and who their little spirits are. I love my children and feel so blessed to be a Mom. Thanks for the chance to write that and send it out there into the virtual world. πŸ™‚

  261. 276) Kelie

    By allowing them to be “themselves” and to change their minds. Also, by letting them choose when to say “no” and how to stick to it, even when it’s difficult. πŸ™‚

  262. 277) Keith W

    I think it’s more a case of not limiting them – I try never to tell a child not to do something without also explaining why they shouldn’t do it.

  263. 278) Nivette Connors

    By simply telling them to reach for the stars πŸ™‚

  264. Thank you for the post! This is my daughter’s favorite movie (she’s almost 5) and I’ve wrestled with messages that this movie communicates. I think its such a parenting challenge to not rule with a set of rules because that’s what our family has decided to do {DARN IT} but to truly stop and listen to one another because each voice in a family is its own perspective and its own person. To take time to listen even in the midst of the chaos that can be a family. My husband and my prayer for our children 4, 3 & 20 months) is that we will see them for who they are called to be not who we want them to be and that we will help them on their journey. Practically speaking, the details of that are a work in progress but listening is a HUGE component. Also taking time to play with the kids what they want to play, be part of their world (pardon the really poor Ariel pun). I’m not even sure I completely answered the comment question but there it is.

  265. i recently read an article on this subject here: http://mandydupree.com/uncategorized/encourage-your-children-to-follow-their-dream/ and i couldn’t say it any better myself. my favorite part is at the end “.. if you pray that God will direct your children in the things He wants them to accomplish in their lives, then you have to be willing to accept it when your child has a desire to follow a path that may be different from the one you think they should follow! ..why pray for God’s guidance in your child’s life if you want to step in and make the decisions?”

    great giveaway too, btw !! πŸ™‚

  266. 281) Debbie

    By making them feel as though they are capable of achieving whatever it is that they are striving for. Btw, I’d love to see recent house pics. Love your blog, and all the awesome sewing inspiration!

  267. 282) Reyna

    I think it is so important to encourage them to follow whatever their hearts desire…if they put their mind to it they can do it, but they have to work hard and have ambition if they want to succeed! And as an adult, it’s important to listen and see what they gravitate towards to be able to encourage them!

  268. 283) Maxine

    By joining them in their pursuit of themselves, if that makes sense. Rather than fighting them on it, get to know who they are, invest your own time and being into their interests, and trust them to be able to succeed or else recover gracefully from their own mistakes.

  269. 284) Margaret

    This can be a tough one. I always step back when some of the activities we are doing get hard and ask myself, “Is this my dream or hers?” I also allow my kids to make mistakes so they can learn more about who they are and what is important to them.

  270. 285) Julie

    i let them be bored, and that helps them have time to be creative and imagine their dreams.

  271. 286) diana

    by letting them know I love them completely and wholly

  272. 287) Gina

    We constantly tell our daughter that she can do anything…girls can do anything boys can do. So much so that she now insists boys can’t do math or science. Oops, guess we overreached on that one!

  273. 288) Sue

    I encourage my kids by listening to them and making sure I react in a positive way. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I also let them know how loved they are by telling them, but also by my time given up to help them in their activities.

  274. 289) Laura

    I have to remind myself to fully listen. Listen to my children’s thoughts, hopes, worries, and passions. Be open to all of the amazing experiences, people and moments that are all around us. Show interest and find the beauty in all you do with your children.

  275. We let our kids make lots of choices (what color mashed potatoes should we make tonight ? Choose a fabric for your curtains..) and explore many crafts (sewing, gardening, building with pipe cleaners, bury stuff then wait 2 weeks to dig it up and see what happens..). We turned off the tv when they were young (just watched movies from the Library) and spent more time with each other ! We encouraged them to be hands-on in whatever their interest was.
    Today they are all creative adults and still best friends. We were just blessed with our first grandbaby boy and wish to share in his life too, so “The Little Mermaid” would be a great gift ! (Our family also memorized it and can still sing along.) Thanks for the chance~

  276. 291) Kinsey Dixon

    I try to listen closely to what they think, how they feel, etc. even if it’s something simple and silly. I’ve got three boys and each of them have a different opinion about everything. Great post!

  277. 292) melissa morrison

    Sometimes just letting them take the lead in the conversion will get you so much more information.

  278. 293) Jessie C.

    I encourage kids to go for their dreams and passions by supporting their ideas.
    tcarolinep at gmail dot com

  279. 294) Jessie C.

    -https://twitter.com/tcarolinep/status/377629216696594432

  280. 295) Kim

    We praise our girls’ efforts and encourage them in their play and imagination.
    I love Ariel’s hair, too. πŸ™‚

  281. 296) Heather Jones

    I encourage my daughter to persue her dreams by exposing her to a variety of experiences, cultures and customs. How can she dream if she doesn’t know it exists?

  282. 297) melissa

    I try to encourage them that they can do anything they put their minds too, and i encourage them to try new things so that they can learn that they really can do anything.

  283. 298) Sharon

    I LOVE Little Mermaid!! I know all of the words to “Part of Your World” and “Kiss the Girl” (and my husband revealed to me while we were dating that he knew all of the words also!) I would love to share this video with my kids. Dana, you’re such an awesome mom to your kids! I love how Lucy answered your question about what she learned about the movie and I do hope my kids learn the same lesson (and remember when they’re teenagers!). I encourage my children in their dreams in the same way my mom encouraged me when she would tell me: “You will bloom wherever you are planted” and I also tell them that i support them in whatever they do and will be there for them when it’s fun and hard. I can only hope they make good choices in the future!!

  284. So, I don’t have kids yet, but I encourage my nieces to dream big and read lots of books. I hope I’m inspiring them to be smart, confident young women some day!

  285. 300) judy

    I always encourage them to try new things and never let gender get in the way of what you want to do.

  286. I encourage my oldest daughter by creating a goal then helping her work hard to achieve it! Most dreams are materialized by hard work! Some dreams are just simply gifts from God, nothing we do can help earn them, their a gift πŸ™‚

  287. 302) Vanessa

    I try to teach my 4 year old that she is capable and help her gain independence so she will have the confidence to chase her dreams even when I’m not around.

  288. 303) Meghan D

    The Little Mermaid was the favorite in my house growing up. My sister and I would try to achieve the big wave splash in the bath tub while singing the reprise of Part of Your World. Now my 3.5 year old tries to do it. She will be Ariel again for Halloween this year. She constantly asks questions throughout the movie even though she has seen it countless times. I try to expose her to new things and experiences and will continue to do so. As she gets older, I hope to encourage her independence while letting her know I am her if she needs me. I also hope to teach her that hard work and determination will get you far. PS I totally agree about the hair (both hers and growing up with straight hair but wanting curly, now having curly and wanting my straight back)!

  289. I think letting my kids just be themselves and giving them time to discover their dreams is an important part of being a mom. It’s easy to steer them towards things I like or things I did as a kid, when they have their own interests. I think it also reminds me to pursue my own interests by watching my kids pursue theirs.

  290. 306) Sarah L

    It’s hard for me (Type A all the way) to let my boys just create in the way they want to, whether it’s with crafts, art, play-dough, etc. And sometimes I don’t love the things that they love (can we just be done with Lightning McQueen already??). But I stay out of their way when they feel strongly about something they love and don’t impose my own preferences on them. I hope that letting them make their own choices about how to create and what they love will help them to follow their dreams as they grow up!

  291. 307) Bethany

    I loved Lucy’s perspective. And I loved what you added Dana. I think we should listen to our kids more, and hopefully they will listen to us as well.

  292. 308) Kelly A

    We encourage our kids to work hard to follow their dreams and that wishing upon a star helps.

  293. 309) iHeartQuilting

    I try to encourage my 9 yr old daughter whenever she expresses an interest in something new, whether it is something crafty, or related to singing which she loves, or related to church, or girl scouts, or pretty much anything that isn’t dangerous! Since she sings EVERY day at home, I encouraged her to take voice lessons at school this year instead of continuing guitar lessons (she didn’t like to practice). As a result, she was just asked to participate in her school’s theater production of Godspell, even though she is two years younger than the rest of the cast. She couldn’t be more thrilled!

  294. 310) Hilary W

    By focusing my attention on them when they are talking to me and really listening to them! I think it’s so important for my kids to know that I will listen to them. Nothing will shut off communication faster than distracted, half-hearted attempts at multi-tasking when they want to talk. If I don’t hear their hearts, I won’t know their dreams. Thanks for the chance to win – my girls love Ariel!

  295. 311) Angela s

    We encourage them to do what they love & to believe in themselves, & to not worry about any naysayers.

    andysavi.mom@gmail.com

  296. I think perhaps I need to watch this movie again, and see if my feelings have changed. I was in college when it was first released and I remember being shocked at what I thought was such a negative message to send little girls. Ariel was willing to give up her voice (her voice!!!!) for a man!! It seemed so obviously demeaning; kind of like a “women are to be seen not heard if they want to find a good man” theme. I’d fallen in love with the songs before seeing the movie, and then the movie just killed it all for me. Perhaps my view was skewed by my bra-burning-girl-power college days, lol — I’ll have to check it out again and see if I have a new perspective. Don’t mean to be a downer with this comment — just so interesting to see everyone’s different takes!

  297. 313) Annie

    Right now my son is 3, so his dreams are at times really huge and at others really humble. We sit and talk about them every day, and discuss what he might need to make them happen. He wants to be a construction worker? He will need to learn to focus on using his tools safely and research legal matters for permitting. He wants to own his own farm? He will need to learn how to grow plans, take care of animals, and work on farm equipment. I will never belittle any dream of his, no matter how big or small, just help talk him through it to decide how he needs to make them reality.

  298. 314) Sarah C

    My daughter is only 13 months, but I really want to see where her dreams lead her and not force her to do things I would want to do.

  299. Love this! We encourage them to follow their dreams by going with what they are passionate about (even if it changes every day) and not simply forcing our own passions upon them.

  300. 316) Stacey K

    I try to be involved and learn about things my kids like. They are still little, but I want them to know that I care about them and their dreams and interests.

  301. 317) Brenda

    I guess in order to know and help them with your dreams, you need to be listening! Spending lots of time talking with them so you really know them, even if they don’t really know themselves yet.

  302. 318) Amanda F

    I think we need to be encouraging as parents! Encourage our children to try new things, and to be a listening ear when they need it. Helping our children to discover what they are interested in, and have a passion for is important!

  303. Oh I love that movie so much! I was a tiny child when it came out and my sister and I would watch it almost every day on VHS. I would love a copy on Blue Ray. (Might find its way to my sisters Christmas stocking!)

  304. 321) Tammy

    I have always encouraged my children to be who they are and try not to worry about what other people (including mom & dad) think they should be. I hope that they are always able to follow their hearts and trust their instincts.

  305. 322) Tina M

    I encourage them to meet many different children and try many activities, be socialized for the real world

  306. 324) Lisa Brown

    I encourage them by always giving them a positive response and supporting their ideas.
    jslbrown_03 at yahoo dot com

  307. 326) Erin

    Well, I don’t have children… Is this still a legal entry? lol However, I am an elementary education major, and tutor my life away at a nearby elementary school in the after school program and teach Bible class at my church. I spend a whole lot of time with kids, and in a way, I guess you could say I actually have about 80 children. While I am not their parent, or even their teacher, it is clear they all look up to me. My favorite question to ask is always “What would you be, if you could ANYTHING ever?” and we discuss how that could be achieved (you know…unless they say they want to be a unicorn or something… I don’t think they have the surgery for that, yet.). I always encourage them to think big and work hard, because when you work hard for something you really want, it makes it feel that much better when you do it. They usually ask what me the question in return, and I get to say “I want to be a teacher and spend my day with kids like you and help them do what they want… Just like I do here, every day. I want to change the world….kind of like Captain America.”

  308. Little Mermaid is my favorite movie too – I am so thrilled that my 4 year-old loves it as much as I do. I try to encourage my kid’s passions by exploring their interests and sometimes having to step outside of my comfort zone to get into theirs πŸ™‚

  309. We encourage our six girls to always follow their dreams (and hearts!). If they become passionate with a subject (violin, softball, art, nature enthusiast), we help guide them with those interests as best we can as parents. By trying new things, learning, and practicing, they are able to not only follow their dreams but fulfill them as well!

    • 329) Amanda

      WOW! SIX?!?! You are a super woman.

  310. 330) sarah

    I try to encourage my daughter by giving her confidence. If she believes in herself and her dreams she is more likely to follow her heart.

  311. 331) Amanda

    Awe I love so much what Lucy said. Made me tear up, what a sweetie! I totally love the Little Mermaid too! Went on the little Mermaid ride at Disney World recently and it took me back.. red flowing hair and all. Totally wanted to be a mermaid for a while there. lol. πŸ™‚ Sweet post.

  312. 332) Melissa Schneider

    I encourage them to use their imagination. Do the things they enjoy doing. And loving them even when they make mistakes.

  313. 333) Glorianne

    I encourage my boys to look for examples of the type of people they would like to be. Whether it is in the scriptures or an outstanding person we talk about what made them successful. My favorite was talking about why Mulan was successful. They haven’t met Ariel yet, but should soon!

  314. 334) Angela H.

    My 3 year old daughter ran by and stopped dead in her tracks, shrieked, and said, “is that my favorite Ariel.” She is now begging to watch it so we will need to get it when it is released. I loved how Scuttle was a true friend and stuck by Ariel’s side and of course I love her amazing hair.

  315. 335) Jennie

    My son’s only 2 1/2, but we try to let him make his own choices when he can. Even if it means wearing an animal print shirt with clashing plaid shorts, or if he wants to sit on the potty repeatedly for 15 minutes straight! It’s important for me to pick my battles and let him exercise his independence where he can.

  316. 337) Jan Richards

    Our girls are grown, but we try to encourage our 5 grandkids to follow their own interests and dreams. Our oldest is crazy about jazz band and the youngest is
    in love with Star Wars. Thanks for a chance to win these fun gifts.

  317. 338) Ronica

    We encourage our babes to be themselves, and express that with joy. Practicing not judging them is hard, we always ask questions (to each other and ourselves) about our points of view-which are often handed to us by someone else!

  318. 339) Shawn B!

    I like to keep telling them that they need to focus on what they really want, and just go for it!

  319. 340) Katharine

    My kids are still really little (3 and 9 months). We have just started talking to our oldest about what he wants to be when he grows up. I am looking forward to continuing the conversation as he gets older and can really express who he wants to be.

  320. 341) Charlene

    I was an “adult” (17 going on 18) when “The Little Mermaid” came out, and I watched it five or six times in the theaters. I loved it then, and love it still.
    As far as encouraging our daughter, we prompt her keep trying when she fails. It’s a good lesson that we may not always excel at the things we love, and that with patience, we may master something that seems impossible. Also, we teach her that forks are not for combing hair. : )

  321. 342) Katharine P

    I encourage my children to dream by letting them figure things out for themselves. And when they have ideas where I want to say “no way”, I try to instead say “How do you think you can get that to work for you?” so hopefully they will be using their brain not just to dream, but to plan and THINK.

  322. 343) Amber Reece

    I encourage my daughter by telling her she doesn’t need anybody else to make her dreams come true or make her happy, just herself and her determination, and my boy I tell him his happiness doesn’t come from anyone but himself. Think for themselves, and do their own thing, but appreciate the people who have given their time and effort to help them! I wish my mom had told me those things so very bluntly!!!

  323. 344) Lorene

    We always encouraged our children to try anything they were interested in, but to stick with it. If it was a sport, then stay with the team for the entire season.

  324. 345) Julia

    By following my own:)

  325. 347) D Schmidt

    We encourage our children to find their own voices through play, imagination and most importantly through showing love. My younger son has such a sense of freedom to be himself that he breaks into dance wherever he is! We want them to know they can be anything they want to be if they work hard enough and follow their dreams.

  326. 349) Liza

    My boys are still pretty young, but we encourage them to play and imagine to their heart’s content, while loving and being nice to others.

  327. My daughter is always telling me different things she wants to be when she grows up. We encourage her to pursue her dreams and try out new things.

  328. 351) SarahB

    Such a good post! My daughter is still a little baby and thrives on smiles and exchanged giggles, but my son is 3.5 (grant me patience, God) and I remind myself again and again that creativity and exploration will inevitably result in the occasional mess and/or breakage. And that’s okay.

  329. 352) Beth K

    Through hard work & kindness. Thanks for the giveaway!

  330. 354) Monika

    Well, my 4 &6 year old live our their dreams every day – at the moment their dreams are small wonders, like being a pirate or making jam tarts – not huge out of this world things. So we just play, mainly, and they tell us what’s going on inside their heads and hearts.
    It might get harder when they’re older and dreams become more ‘real’. For now we’re good. I hope!

  331. 355) Katie M

    I absolutely love this movie and so do my kids. We only seen it due to friends; we would love to own it.
    I’m always amazed at the connections that kids make. My kids always surprise me at the lessons they take away. I had never even thought of that as a theme of the movie. Thanks for posting these sweet words from your daughter.

  332. I love this movie! The way they animated it, and how I felt watching it, are stuck with me still.

    I’m hoping to instill having their own voice, being their own advocates, and communicating what they want, so they have the tools to be who they want to be follow their dreams.

    Side note: I love that I married a dark-haired man named, Eric. πŸ˜€

  333. I am a single mom. My (ex) husband walked out on us when my daughter was an 18 month old.

    Needless to say, I am terrified that she will be scarred for life, but she has, even as an 18 month old, shown such resilience, that I can only be thankful to God.

    It has been almost 3 years now since then.

    And as odd as this sound, we still maintain a good relationship with my ex husband. Because it is not my right to take that away from her.

    How do I encourage her to follow her dreams? By giving her a fair chance to have as normal and happy of a childhood that I possibly can, so that she will feel secure in love and knowledge that I will always be there, and therefore be confident enough to venture out on less conventional paths, if that is what she chooses.

    I think that this entry will get lost amongst the hundreds out there, but that’s ok — sometimes I just need the chance to think things out in a coherent way and feel blessed at how far we’ve come since then.

  334. 358) Catherine

    When he loves something, we try to continue to fuel that fire he has. We do our best to give him every opportunity to pursue it. And in contrast, if he isn’t into something, we let it go…no matter how much we love it.

  335. 359) Tara

    I absolutely love this movie!!! I definitely have it all memorized! Part of following our dreams I think, is to first realize the amazing potential we have both as individuals and even more so as groups, groups of women, as a church organizations, family groups, and even groups as friends. I want to encourage my children to find a passion and a cause to get behind and then encourage your “groups” to go for it!

  336. I never tell my daughter something she wants to do is impossible. And she’s smart enough that I don’t believe anything is anyway. πŸ™‚

    chambanachik(at)gmail(dot)com

  337. 361) Sarahbeth

    At 2 1/2, my Nat gets to be in stories with her friend curious George, ride her bike, and play with friends. It’s pretty simple at this age, but we’re doing as much sewing, painting and climbing as possible!

  338. 362) Savannah K

    I’m not a mommy, but I have much younger little brothers that are starting to grow up and be real people instead of little dolls. So I think this counts. :]
    But for all three of them aged 3 months to 8 years, anytime they show an interest in something or have questions, we make it happen. We Google, we shop, we make sure that there isn’t a single thing standing in their way of whatever they want to do. They always have a wealth of resources for whatever they set their hearts to.
    There’s a 2 year old that wants to be the “W-E-E-E champ champ”, an 8 year old that wants to be the best Yugioh collector ever with the most powerful cards, and a 3 month old that wants to giggle louder than the baby in the mirror (I have to assume, at least, as crazy as he goes at it).
    That’s how my whole family makes sure these boys follow their dreams.

  339. 364) Christa Nyleen

    I encourage them to follow their dreams by helping them set goals to achieve what they want and teaching them how to be confident.

  340. 365) Janice Cooper

    Being supportive, positive and encouraging and always speaking positive words. Its so important to let them know nothing is impossible

  341. 368) Kristin M

    i try to give her space to explore and think

  342. The Little Mermaid is still my favorite Disney movie! (with Tangled a close second). I encourage my girls to be themselves –creative individuals. My just-turned 5 year old told me she wants to be a Rodeo Queen when she grows up — you go, girl!

  343. We encourage our children by always cheering them on, even when losses or bad things happen. We also do not just give them whatever they need in order to achieve their dreams…yes, we help them, but we also want them to know that following your dream is (probably) going to be A LOT of hard work, but it’s worth every ounce of sweat you put into it.

    I remember watching this movie when I was young…my best friend and I. She *hated* the sea witch and would fast forward through any part she was in.

  344. 371) Tiffany Cramer

    Setting moral standards and then helping our kids make decisions that stay in line with those standards is a great way to open doors to happiness and freedom.

  345. 372) Jessie

    Right now we have 9 year olds (twins) and a 5 year old, so we are dreaming every day. Our daughter wants to be a gold metal gymnist and our oldest son wants to be the next Adrian Peterson, the youngest wants to drive anything with wheels and farm. So, right now to help them follow their dreams we drive them around A LOT. But love every minute of it!

  346. 373) Lauralee

    We homeschool our kiddos so there is plenty of opportunity for dream-following in finding good hobbies and for discussing where we are going in life through literature, history, and religion. I like what you took away from The LIttle Mermaid. That’s a very positive way to look at the message of the movie!! πŸ™‚

  347. 374) Amanda

    The Little Mermaid will always be special to me. I have a 12 year old daughter, Ariel. Although I must admit when I hear the name Ariel I no longer think of the movie. It’s my daughter, and I often forget she shares the name. The Little Mermaid was one of the first movies I watched and felt a connection to as a child. When I was in middle school, I borrowed a friends VHS tape of it, and actually typed up the entire movie script. Stop. Rewind. Play. Stop. Rewind. Play. It took me hours to do. Dedication there. πŸ™‚

    As for my kids dreams, I listen to them. I ask questions. I help in anyway that I can to make improvements. I show their ideas respect and give support. My son wants to become a writer. I have edited stories. I have typed stories, made so many copies, and posted lots of it on my blog. I want him to believe that he can do it. The dream has stuck with him for years, and I would not be the least bit surprised if he gets a book published someday. He is really good, and he’s only nine! With all the hours and hours of practice he has had, he writes better than most adults I know.

  348. 375) Michelle

    Sadly, we don’t have children yet… We’re still trying to follow *our* dreams of them but infertility and 2 failed adoptions have blocked the way. One thing that’s for sure, you cannot always be everything you dream like they like to say, but you can certainly find a light for another path that can be just as fulfilling. Sorrows come to stretch out places in the heart for joy!

  349. 376) sandra

    lots of praise for trying

  350. 377) AmandaLane

    I encourage them to do what makes their hearts happy! I tell them” You can do or be anything you want to, just never give up!”

  351. I say “yes” as much as I can.

  352. 379) Sally

    I try to give lots of positive encouragement in whatEVER they are interested in. I read somewhere that the way we speak to our children will become their inner voice when they are grown. If that’s not pressure, I don’t know what is!

  353. I always encourage my kids that don’t be afraid to make mistakes. They can always learn from that and never gives up in what they’re love and their dream will come true one day!

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

  354. 382) Emily

    I think one of the best ways we can encourage our children to follow their dreams is to just teach them that anything is possible and that they are capable to doing anything they dream they can. And if your six year old wants to grow up to be a “real jedi” don’t squash their dream by telling them that jedi’s aren’t real, because for them they are.

  355. 383) Kelly

    I try to encourage my child’s dream by listening. I often don’t realize how much I’m leading the conversation instead of letting his dreams flow out in his own words.

  356. 384) rachel

    By letting them try new things — art, sports, science — and seeing what makes them happy!

  357. 385) Jessica

    We encourage our children to follow their dreams by simply loving them and giving them the confidence that we are behind them and will love, support and encourage them. Sounds simple but it can be difficult to put into practice. Every day is a new opportunity to try!

  358. 386) Sara

    By being their coach & cheerleader

  359. 387) Kerry

    I just make sure my kids know that I will help them in any way to pursue what their dreams are.

  360. 388) Lisa Renee W.

    I try to lead by example. Always taking classes on new subjects to show them to keep trying new things.

  361. 389) Stacy

    Well, my daughter is 8 months old so it’s a little different for us πŸ™‚ I like to always remind her of my love and that I’ll love her no matter what. I try to read her stories that vary in theme and girly-girl romance level. I pray for her. I try to show her that grace is so big that we can swim around in it. But, as I said, she’s only 8 months so I’m not sure what she’s taking in just yet πŸ™‚

  362. 390) Debbie B

    by being supportive and encouraging them in their activities

  363. Do you have a spam issue on this blog; I also am a blogger, and I was wanting to know your situation; many of us have created some nice practices and we are looking to exchange methods with other folks, please shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  364. 393) angelune

    Right now my little guy is only 14 months old, so mostly I encourage him to discover, explore, learn, and that his parents are always there for him to fall back on and share his discoveries.

  365. 394) jeannine s

    we encourage them in their dreams, teach them that dreams should be worked towards and fought for

  366. 395) steph

    i readd him stories to encourage his imagination and dreams!

  367. 397) Jess F

    I try and point out different jobs when we’re out and about, we talk about construction workers, doctors, painters…I want to help her understand the world is full of possibilities.

  368. 399) Erica Best

    I listen to my nephew dreams and really talk to him about them

  369. 401) Kiara

    I don’t have kids, but I encourage my niece by telling her how smart and beautiful she is and that she can do anything she sets her mind to.
    austma7@aol.com

  370. 402) soha molina

    By being supportive of their likes and dreams and providing them the path to follow them in.

  371. 404) Natalie

    I encourage them to try something at least once and pray to God about it.

  372. 405) Tamar

    I let them do just about whatever they’d like but I do guide them on a good path and set limits.

  373. 406) Shannon Baas

    By encouraging them to follow their dreams.

  374. 407) Emily Morelli

    I try to support my child in whatever she dreams by providing encouragement, and any help that I can. We also talk often about how hard work is what makes dream come true.

  375. 408) Bernie W

    I encourage them with positive reinforcement when they get discouraged.

  376. 409) Anastasia

    I encourage my kids to follow their dreams by supporting their ideas and the things they want to do. We work together to find a way to make the things happen that they want. At the same time, we instill realistic limits. We can’t fly into today, but if we study hard and work at it, we can get into NASA in the future and fly to space then πŸ™‚ You can have what you want, you just have to find a way to make it happen πŸ™‚

  377. 412) Carolyn G

    By making sure that they feel supported in their decisions.

  378. 413) sarah hirsch

    I encourage them to follow their dreams by signing them up for activities they are interested in, and letting them know they can pursue anything they want to

  379. 414) Barbara M

    I believe in giving positive feedback to the kids and encouraging them to try new things.
    Thank you.

  380. 416) June S.

    I have always told my children when they were younger to follow their dreams.

  381. 417) Jacob LaFountaine

    I don’t have children so I can be as lazy and boring as I want without worrying about ruin anyone else’s life

  382. 418) Kelly D

    I let my kids try new activities they are interested in, and encourage them to try their best.

  383. 419) Christina Marie

    I try to encourage my daughter to follow her dreams by setting an example. Thanks for the giveaway!

  384. 421) Rebecca Graham

    By letting them use their imagination and creativity.

  385. I sing part of your world to my son almost every day, he loves the little mermaid even though he has never seen the movie. This would be a real treat! I encourage him to dream by playing with him. He is only 2 1/2 so his dreams involve turning everything in our house into a train track, or scoring one more bag of juicy snacks. I just play though, it’s the best way to teach him things that will ultimately help fulfill his dreams

  386. I encourage my children to follow their dreams by showing them love and support. πŸ™‚

  387. 424) Denise S

    I encourage their interests and tell them they can do anything they set their minds to.

  388. 425) Diane baum

    I encourage my sons to listen to their hearts and to be a leader, not follow the crowd

  389. 426) Tabathia B

    By encouraging them not to be afraid to try new things

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  390. 428) Paula Michele Hafner

    I support them, encourage their creativity, and try to give them the best tools that they need to follow their dreams and interest.

  391. 429) LAMusing

    I don’t have kids, but my parents encouraged and applauded my interests. And as an adult I did indeed follow my dreams.

  392. 430) maria cantu

    I tell them they can do whatever they set their mind to do.

  393. 431) Kellie Budge

    I try to help my kids follow their dreams now. The big dreams feel so far away, but I can support them now as they save money for that batman helmet, or learn to sew an owl for a favorite teacher. I try to provide the support and then just get out of their way.

  394. 434) Farah

    I was 5 when The Little Mermaid came out and still to this day it is my favorite Disney Princess movie. Now my three-and-a-half year old twin daughters love it too.

    My daughters may only be three-and-a-half, but they show interest in a lot of things. We like to encourage them by learning about and exploring whatever it is that interests them. Most of all we encourage them to be themselves and that they can do what ever they want as long as they put their mind to it. (even if it is only building a castle out of legos).

  395. 435) Francine Anchondo

    I encourage them to give everything a try once and if they like it then we stick with it and try to help them reach their goal or dream.

  396. 436) Michelle H

    providing lots of opportunities to try different things

  397. 437) joni

    Unlike my parents, I let my daughter join different groups and tryout for different events. My daughter use to be a wallflower and is now very outgoing. She got this way after auditioning and starring in several plays. I encourage her by working with her in these events and by praising her work.

  398. 439) Carmen

    I try and encourage her to investigate and question independently.

  399. 440) hillary

    I encourage my seven year old’s dreams by reminding her that when she writes song lyrics, she can make up music to go along with them to play on her violin.

    I encourage my 11-month-old’s dreams by letting her rip pages out of all my catalogs and play drums on my laptop.

  400. Girls need affirmation that they can do anything they put their mind to; encouraging them to participate in anything they’re interested in. πŸ™‚

  401. 442) Robin Wilson

    Your photos are awesome!

    I encourage my little great-niece by playing along with her imagination. She loves to dress up like a princess every day. She wants to be one when she grows up! I help her dress up and play with her and let her know that anything is possible if we work hard enough.

    zuzu.wilson(at)yahoo(dot)com

  402. 444) Lisa V.

    I’ve always been her biggest cheerleader and support her in her endeavors.

  403. 445) Stephanie Larison

    I encourage her to follow her interests, she knows she can do anything she wants to through hard work. And anything that is truely something you want is worth it.

  404. 446) Daniel M

    usually by getting books and supplies

  405. 447) Lauren Flynn

    My 25 yo daughter’s first- and favorite!- disney movie. We watch it twice a year to remember her childhood and the message that you can be your own person despite what your parents want!

  406. 448) Betty C

    I encourage our children to try new things so they have the opportunity to discover what they really love.

  407. 449) joseph gersch

    i tell my daughter she can be anything she wants to be

  408. 450) Karen Drake

    I encourage my grandkids by giving them unconditional love and being supportive in everything they do.

  409. 451) Jen

    I make sure both my kids know that we support them in life, no matter what, they will always have cheerleaders from me and my husband.

  410. 452) Linda G.

    I encourage them to try new things and being supportive in all they do

  411. 453) Anna Pry

    we hope that by homeschooling our kids, they will be more encouraged to follow their own dreams pryfamily5@gmail.com

  412. 455) Lisa Garner

    I encourage my children to follow their dreams by supporting them in all their in school and after school activities and helping suggest new activities to inspire them.
    lisalmg25 at gmail dot com

  413. 457) crystal smith

    I encourage my boys to follow their dreams by being positive and praising their ideas and efforts. I try to remind them of the things they already accomplished and the work it took to get there πŸ™‚

  414. 458) jennifer

    I may not always agree with the choices my children make, but no matter what, I support them and they know they can always count on me to be their cheerleader!

  415. My daughter is only 18 months old so at this stage it can be a little difficult in knowing how to encourage her dreams.

    We read a lot and do lots of creative things to stimulate her imagination. She gets unconditional love from me and I hope she always knows I will love her no matter what!

    As she gets older it will be easier to encourage her dreams. I can’t wait to see what is in store for her!

  416. 460) Alicia

    To encourage my son I tell him he can do anything he puts his mind and heart too.

  417. 462) Kayla

    We encourage them and tell them that they can do anything they put their minds to.

  418. 463) mariem

    i just stand behind them- an anchor helps u feel safer to try new things

  419. I currently have no children, although I very much hope that we will be blessed soon. In the mean time, I’m in school to become a teacher and plan to encourage my students to follow their dreams… I will encourage them to work on their weaknesses nicely and will definitely support them in their strengths and encourage them to truly grow within these strengths.

  420. 465) Tim A

    I try to encourage my boys through example. I always try to show them that the only thing that can hold them back is their own imagination. If they believe in something than their is always a way to make it happen they just have to want it enough to make that dream come true.

  421. 466) Debbie M.

    My little granddaughter, Leah, just turned one. She is exposed to as much as possible. She loves music, books, and knows some early sign language. Most of all we shower her with love and praise. She is an amazing little girl. This giveaway is WONDERFUL! My gorgeous granddaughter would LOVE The Little Mermaid video. β™₯

  422. 467) melikegarfield

    We ask them to envision what it would take to realize those dreams and then try to find some small steps we can jointly accomplish that will take them on the path of discovery.

  423. 468) Sarah Waldrep

    We try to encourage our kids dreams by providing experiences and opportunities for many different things. Things we may like, ir things they may like. Also, we try to. Keep from being an obstacle to them, and allow them to have the.experience, not just us experiencing things for them.

  424. 469) Sky Kory

    I give them encouragement and lots of support.

  425. 470) Stephanie

    We encourage our daughters to follow their dreams by joining them. Our younger two are still a bit too young to think about the future, but our oldest really wants to have her own restaurant some day. So, we’ve started a recipe binder. If she likes a new recipe, we add that to her “menu.”

    Will she follow that dream? Who knows. But at least, if she changes her mind, it won’t be because we’ve shot her down.

  426. 472) Angela

    As a mom I have felt strongly that my kids need to know that I love them unconditionally, that who they are is exactly who they should be. My kids are not very quiet (I am), and they are very spirited and full of personality. I have realized how endearing that is and I try really hard to let them express themselves even if it feels contrary to how I am. For example if my son wants to wear a superman costume to dad’s birthday dinner at a restaurant even though it is 3 sizes too big, it is ok. This doesn’t mean I let them run wild without teaching them there is a proper time and place for things but I try to realize that there are many times I can let them just be them without forcing what is comfortable for me on them. It seems to be working because I have very happy and loving kids that love living life every day. Thanks Dana!

  427. 473) Susan Smith

    We encourage our children to follow their dreams by trying lots of new experiences. Sometimes their attempts are successful and sometimes they are less so, but they always learn an important lesson about trying their hardest and not being afraid to fail.

  428. 475) susan smoaks

    I have always encouraged our children to dream big and reach for the stars. When they find something they like we all focus our attention on it as to help them follow their dreams!

    susansmoaks at gmail dot com

  429. 476) Mary Somerville

    I love to share stories of inspiring people with them. I let them know that even someone who is The Best at what they do, was not good at it the first time they tried. That doing something well, takes practice, and dedication.I make sure that when they start something, they give it a good try- But don’t push, or make them feel they have failed if their heart isn’t in it.I show them that everyone is different, and valuable. I expose them to as many activities as possible, and do all I can to further what interests them.

  430. Teach them to accept everyone as they are and to encourage others while you are busy encouraging and accepting them as well. Love all around!

  431. 480) Jill

    I try to teach them that it is OK to be just who they are.

  432. 481) Buddy Garrett

    We encourage our daughter to follow her dreams by taking an interest in what she wants to do. We listen and offer encouragement.

  433. 482) Michelle Tucker

    We encourage creative play so that they might find things that interest them.
    michelletucker at baconnation dot net

  434. 484) Amanda Sakovitz

    I encourage them to go for what they believe in

    pokergrl8 at gmail.com

  435. 487) Thomas Murphy

    I tell my kids to do whatever makes them happy.

  436. 489) Caitlin McClure

    I plan on unschooling, letting them learn what they like and focus on their passions instead of forcing them to do things they aren’t interested in

  437. 490) Christian Alejandro

    I like to help motivate them by doing what I can to help them discover their passions.

  438. 492) Eme Bonkoski

    I love this post – brings back so many memories. Specifically, (in elementary school) finally receiving the VHS as a gift and bringing it to school to share with all of my friends!

    With a 2 and almost 4 year old, dreams are beautiful and lofty (as they should be). We encourage them daily to try new things at least once, go out exploring in all seasons, and simply to be who they are. It’s a blessing to see where their imaginations take them, and their joy in learning what they’re good at!

  439. 493) Ellie W

    I encourage my boys to follow their hearts and try to achieve their dreams. I let them know it’s okay to fail sometimes, because the only true failure is to never have tried.

  440. 495) Whitney

    I don’t have children but I find keeping a positive attitude helps

  441. 497) meme

    By helping them to believe in their self and that with a lot of practice and hard work they can accomplish anything

  442. 498) tina reynolds

    I let them know anything is possible if they believe in it and that I believe in them and will always be behind them.

  443. 500) Gianna

    I teach them and support them.

  444. I don’t have kids. However my 6 month old nephew loves this pink purse teether, and some people think its a purse so he shouldn’t use it. But to him it comes with moveable parts and places to chew, so I say, whatever you like buddy! Follow your mouth to whatever toy is most satisfying!

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