Dream it

By their nature, dreams are evanescent. They flicker long before they shine brightly. And when they’re flickering, it’s not particularly difficult for a parent or a teacher or peers to snuff them out.

Creating dreams is more difficult. They’re often related to where we grow up, who our parents are, and whether or not the right person enters our life. Malcolm Gladwell in his great book Outliers talks about society being responsible for nurturing talent, Bill Gates is who he is today partly because of his parent’s support, the early schooling which exposed him to computers. Bessie Head in Maru says heredity nothing, environment everything.

Settling for the not-particularly uplifting dream of a boring, steady job is not helpful. Dreaming of being picked—picked to be on TV or picked to play on a team or picked to be lucky—is not helpful either. We waste our time and the time of our kids when we set them up with pipe dreams that don’t empower them to adapt (or better yet, lead) when the world doesn’t work out as they hope.

The dreams we need are self-reliant dreams. We need dreams based not on what is but on what might be. We need students who can learn how to learn, who can discover how to push themselves and are generous enough and honest enough to engage with the outside world to make those dreams happen.

I think we’re doing a great job of destroying dreams at the very same time the dreams we do hold onto aren’t nearly bold enough.

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