In my house, we believe in unicorns and that Iron Man is friends with Tinker Bell. Santa is kind of a hero and that your teeth will fall out if you don't brush them every day. Basic kid stuff. We also believe in dragons. And why wouldn't we? Believing in the magic makes kids excited, fosters their creativity, and to be totally honest and self-serving it keeps us -- the parents -- young. That's why I am so enamored with this story of a family who encouraged their daughter to dream the impossible and see what happens.
Sophie Lester is a 7-year-old from Queensland who wanted a pet dragon for Christmas. Her parents told her she would have to write to scientists in order to see if someone could get her one. So she did.
Major points for these parents. I would have said, Okay, sweetie and found some kind of stuffed dragon and wrapped it up and put it under the tree. But that's not magic. That's me not thinking. The Lesters went to level 11 right away.
Sophie wrote to Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia's national science agency. Here is her letter:
Hello Lovely Scientist
My name is Sophie and I am 7 years old. My dad told me about the scientists at the CSIRO. Would it be possible if you can make a dragon for me. I would like it if you could, but if you can’t thats (sic) fine.
I would call it Toothless if it was a girl, and if it is a boy I would name it Stuart.
I would keep it in my special green grass area where there are (sic) lots of space. I would feed it raw fish and I would put a collar on it. If it got hurt I would bandage it if it hurt himself. I would play with it every weekend when there is no school.
Love from Sophie
Sealed. Stamped. Delivered. The scientists wrote back on their website. See? Dreams? Magic. Happens! All you have to do is try. The response:
We’ve been doing science since 1926 and we’re quite proud of what we have achieved. We’ve put polymer banknotes in your wallet, insect repellent on your limbs and Wi-Fi in your devices. But we’ve missed something. There are no dragons.
Over the past 87 odd years we have not been able to create a dragon or dragon eggs. We have sighted an eastern bearded dragon at one of our telescopes, observed dragonflies and even measured body temperatures of the mallee dragon. But our work has never ventured into dragons of the mythical, fire breathing variety.
And for this Australia, we are sorry.
Little Sophie the dreamer wasn't about to be all sad face about this. It inspired her. She now wants to be a scientist and probably be on the team that makes dragons happen. Make dreams reality. Yay Sophie! And I can't help but mention again that her parents are the ones totally doing this parenting thing right. We have to encourage our kids, even when they have goals or dreams that seem unattainable. The story could end here and we'd all be happy and warm inside, but it doesn't. CSIRO took it one step further.
The lovely scientists 3D-printed Sophie her very own dragon ... named Toothless. It's a girl! Documented here in this video.
Let this be your faith in humanity restored story today. Let us all learn the lessons from this. Encourage your kids' dreams no matter how outlandish they seem. Don't be afraid to dream big yourself. If you believe, magic can happen. And taking time to do something nice for another person is one of the greatest gifts.
I'm smiling now.
What do you think of this story? Makes you think, doesn't it?