Why'd they stop dreaming, we wonder? What happened? Perhaps a better question is what didn't happen? We remember them when we were young, bright and filled with promise. They were competitive, the ‘brightest in the class" and filled with pride.
You know the type or have seen them, I'm sure. We were the advantaged and disadvantaged, just depended on who you asked or who volunteered the information. We were all taught the same things by the same teachers. There were differences in whatwe weretaught at home but an aura of pride emanated from each of us.
We were the future! Friendly competition among us was fierce. We were three boys and four girls who were destined to save the world. We were known as the Fearless Seven . Our reputation preceded us from elementary to middle and into high school. What one could do, all could do. The girls competed against each other as did the boys and we all competed as a team. Our bond was strong and unbreakable.
Things began to change in our senior year. Lives began to unravel in high school. Teenage pregnancy was facing one of us and you would have thought one of the boyswas pregnant, too. We kept it a secret while we tried everything so that a miscarriage would happen but it wasn't meant to be. The child born froma careless mistakenever knew its dad. Fate would have it this way as it turned out to be in the child's best interest.
One of the boys in the Fearless Seven was drafted into the NBA but he stopped dreaming after that dream was realized. He played for seven years until the fame and fortune were too great and he plummeted from stardom as quickly as he rose. Drugs led to his downfall. It was known he'd make it to the Pros when he was in high school. Although all three of the boys played Varsity Basketball, he had the most promise. The girls were their cheerleaders, officially and unofficially. While in school ourselves, we would travel to see our future NBA star play whenever we could.
The girls continued to dream; even our friend who dropped out because of a teen pregnancy kept her dream alive. She finished high school, went on to college and earned her bachelor's and master's degrees. She currently works for the Criminal Justice Department. Another thought law school was meant for her but that didn't work. She became a surgical nurse after earning a degree in Political Science. After years of working in the operating room, she decided to become a registered nurse. The third girl in the gang could have been a rocket scientist or brain surgeon. She could have founded MENSA but didn't have big dreams. She knew she'd go to college but was clueless as to what she wanted to be when she grew up!
She earned a bachelor's degree and continued her studies to become an Occupational Therapist. Today, she's self-employed and has been for over 15 years. My brother gave her a contract at the hospital where he worked some years back. She said she got lucky and it worked out. She's a savvy real estate investor, too. We've partnered on a couple of ventures.
You see them on the street corners or hanging out under a tree these days. Getting the latest updates on what's happening in the lives of the ‘boys’ is never good news. Well, perhaps it is good news because they're still alive. But what's a life without a dream? When we stop dreaming, isn't life over? Langston Hughes asked, “What happens to a dream deferred?" I ask: What happens when you stop dreaming?
Hughes’ poem continues:
"Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore-
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over-
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?"
The boys did not make the transition from boys to men with a modicum of success. The girls became women of substance. No one ever thought their lives would lack dreams, not even them. They were to be world changers and make a difference. As much as I empathize with them, I know where we are now is directly related to the choices we made. And, but by the grace of God . . .
Proper choices keep a dream alive while improper ones will cause it to “dry up like a raisin in the sun. " Choosing methodically and wisely propels us forward to dream another dream when one dream is realized; while choosing carelessly, will cause a dream to “stink like rotten meat" and never materialize.
I was sent an email about an 80-year old woman who graduated from university. A male freshman student asked her why she was at school. She jokingly replied, “I'm here to catch a man, get married and have his baby. " They became fast friends and she explained she had always wanted to go to college and thought she'd do it before passing on. The story continues with more details but she graduated four years later. She was asked to speak on behalf of the graduating class. While at the podium, she droppedthe index cards in her hands which contained her notes. She saidto herclassmates, "What the heck. I'll just talk about what I know. I had a dream and now I can stop dreaming. " The story continues with her passing away two weeks after graduation.
Do not stop dreaming. It'll cost nothing to dream and everything if you do not. If you're in fear ofnot dreaming, try dreaming the impossible dream. That is sure to keep you occupied for the rest of your life. I will always dream the impossible dream but I know having my trust in the Dream Maker cancels out impossibilities.
(c) 2007 by Avis Ward of GeoVi's Home for New Life (A Dream)
Avis Ward provides Excellence in Orthodontic Practice Management. More information about Avis can be found here: http://aviswardconsulting.com/ or Avis Ward Avis invites you to view her blog.