When Langston Hughes asked, “What happens to a dream deferred?” I wonder if he knew that nearly 75 years later his words would still resonate with young families across the United States.
Families whose dreams of economic mobility and family well-being sometimes feel like they are drying in the sun. Families who are often made to believe they are the root of their dreams being deferred–if only I’d tried harder, if only I’d paid more attention to the details, I would be a lot farther along. Hughes understood that the deferral of dreams often occurs deliberately through institutional barriers. He encouraged us to ask “why?” and pave a new path forward for reviving dreams.
In my work at New Moms, I see mothers and their young families holding on to their audacious dreams:
Dreams of receiving quality prenatal, birth, and postpartum healthcare. Dreams of parenting practices that ensure their child’s well-being. Dreams of achieving employment and educational goals that will be fulfilling and family-sustaining. Dreams of financial literacy support that consider personal values. Dreams of exploring and maturing Spirituality in a non-judgemental environment. And most importantly, dreams of a life of abundance — where necessities are covered so that we can live outside of scarcity and basic survival.
When I see moms come into our programs, I understand that they already have what they need to achieve their dreams — grit, love, determination, and resourcefulness — and I see how our Executive Skills approach to coaching can help reduce stress and create the slack that allows moms to move beyond survival and into a thriving future.
My role at New Moms is all about teaching Executive Skills, the 12 brain-based abilities that govern how we organize, react, and get things done. Everyone has them! However, experiences of scarcity, systemic racism, or violence can affect the development of Executive Skills and can naturally create barriers that get in the way of our dreams. By exploring these skills and learning about themselves, moms can better leverage their strengths and mitigate their struggles, to help create a clearer path to lasting success.
As I reflected on Hughes’ question, I thought again of the families we serve at New Moms. I thought of the hope I see every day and the audacious dreams of our young moms. I decided it was time for a new perspective on “A Dream Deferred”:
Guest blog by Karlyn Boens, New Moms Learning and Innovation Project Manager in Program Leadership.
Posted on February 28, 2023
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