After serving over twenty years in education, I have seen the road to success strewn with “dream casualties”–individuals who had tremendous dreams, but lacked in talent, skill, tenacity, or luck, to make that dream any reality.
Walt Disney once said, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
Everyone dreams. Dreams begin in childhood and stay with us for a lifetime. I remember as a young lad I desired to be everything from a policeman to a fireman to a cowboy (or an Indian), scientist, rock star, and even superman himself. In education we love to hear inspirational dream quotes: “If you believe it, you can achieve it.” And on and on it goes.
Recently I have seen a barrage of one-liners from would-be modern legends, all trying to forge the next great quote on dreaming: quotes on dreaming big, or dreaming in 3D, or the courage it takes to follow our “God-size dreams.” My youngest daughter once, after ingesting more than her mind’s share of fairy tales, decided that she wanted to be a princess. There is intrinsically nothing wrong with wanting to be a princess. However, we happen to live in America which does not, nor has it ever existed under a monarchy. How does one break it to their child that their dream is really just a silly fancy?
So what is the difference between a dream and just a really stupid idea? Most people eventually give up on really stupid ideas. After serving over twenty years in education, I have seen the road to success strewn with “dream casualties”–individuals who had tremendous dreams, but lacked in talent, skill, tenacity, or luck, to make that dream any reality. I actually know individuals today who have sidelined families, friends, education, and careers just waiting for their dreams to come true. Is it possible that they might discover, like Walt Disney, that if we cannot really become a princess, maybe the next best thing is to get paid to act like one in a theme park. I think we can all agree that twenty years of believing, achieving and dreaming has not improved education, or the quality of life in our country one ounce, unless we are to concede that there is actually value in watching young innocents having their hopes dashed on television’s onslaught of reality programming. It makes me wonder how many of us are actually pursuing God’s plan for our lives, and how many of us are just pretending to be something we just hoped we could have become.
I grow weary of hearing the newest quip on dreaming big. It would seem that the ideal of becoming a productive and contributing member of society is simply not something Americans desire anymore, either for themselves, or their children. We, rather, hope to Heaven that Steven Tyler was right: “Dream on. Dream on. Dream on. Dream until your dream comes true!”