Last week a family member answered one of my questions by « you are such a dreamer! ». This was not a compliment. This was a statement saying something like this “you are so naïve” – “you’re 36, wake up”. I heard this before. I’ve heard it since I took the first step into adulthood.
It made me think.
What’s wrong about being a dreamer? What’s right about not being one?
Should I stop dreaming now? Why? Why should I stop being who I am? Why should I follow the crowd?
Big things happened in this world because at some stage people thought these things were possible.
Everything starts with an idea. Everything is set into motion because people have a dream and believe in it. They make it happen. They have faith.
Do narrow-minded people have dreams?
They don’t. They accept things as they are. Even if these things don’t please them. And if they have some, they don’t follow them, surely thinking it’s not worth it.
Back to the conversation we were having. The family member who said that is old enough to be a grand-dad. Maybe he’s just fed up with life. I am sure he had dreams at some stage (all kids have dreams!) but these dreams vanished. And he’s now left with nothing else but regrets and resentment towards life.
I don’t want to become like him. I hold on tight to my dreams. I dream of a better world. I see life as a wonderful opportunity to share love and light, to learn tolerance and respect, to help one another and to build step by step, all together, a peaceful planet.
If people stop dreaming, what our world is going to be like? What will we get if we don’t imagine tomorrow’s world? What will happen is we stop creating and just accept violence, greed, injustice?
I am a Dreamer and I am proud of it. I’d like to dream till the end and pass it on to my son. I am a Dreamer and I invite you to dream with me. The toughest battles and the most wonderful victories have been achieved by people with, what others thought were, “impossible” dreams!
Are you a dreamer or a realist?
This is an original post written fro World Moms Network by MarieV in France.
When I was a teenager/young adult I wanted to change the world (as it happens with so many youngsters). And changing the world usually meant Doing Big Things.
Now, three kids and more than twenty years later, my saving the world efforts seem so distant. I grapple with alternating days when I stay home with the kids, sorting socks and washing dishes, and days teaching classes at the university, advising students’ research, and trying to do some research of my own.
At one point of my life I thought my career would be in the non-profit sector; i.e., I would be a professional environmentalist, forever. By then my volunteering efforts had evolved into parallel paying jobs related to social-environmental issues, and this kind of lifestyle went on for 12+ years.
I continued on to graduate school not because I wanted to become an academic, but because I thought it would be a great addition to what I already did. I found it exciting to go from project to project, often working on more than one at once. I felt almost repulsed by the thought of staying in the same job for the rest of my life, always doing the same thing. I even got a certain thrill from not knowing where my salary would come from after the current project ended.
My husband (who worked for the same NGO) was not as thrilled and dreamed of the day at least one of us would have a more stable job. Since I was already on the academic path in one way or the other, that person became me.
When I first became a professor I wasn’t overjoyed. Although I love to do research, teaching is a different story and it was very hard in the beginning. At this point I already had three children and the “saving the world” type of projects were in the past. Another dream that I tried to pursue (to become a professional writer) had also been buried. I sadly realized I wasn’t really passionate about anything anymore – except, of course, my kids.
By this time my husband had gotten a relatively stable government job, although he didn’t really love it. We were finally okay financially and we were living a comfortable life. Nevertheless, we began to question ourselves about our choices.
Were we still living according to the same principles we followed when we first met (especially in relation to the environment)? Were we fleeing our responsibility of making a difference in the world? Had we left our ideals aside for modern, middle class comforts? Were we still being true to our dreams?
At first I had a good excuse to avoid these issues because two of our kids were very small and I had to deal with all of the related motherhood issues. In parallel, I tried to make the most of my job focusing on the good things: stability, flexible hours, and the possibility of quantity time with my children even if that meant doing a lot of work at night and during the weekend. I told myself (and I still do), that there are many means to make a difference, even if in “small” ways.
After all, in practice, there are no real big things. Big things take place in small steps and often need more than one person involved. Also, what seems like small, local things, often involve a lot of work and may have a greater impact on the world than expected. No wonder one of the most popular environmentalist mottos is, “Think global, act local”.
Today, in my attempts to continue to be of service to the world, I try (for example) to be a good listener to my students because sometimes I sense they are more in need of a friendly ear than anything else. A great number of students suffer from depression and other related disorders, for instance. And it’s not that I serve as a psychologist or anything, but I frequently feel that just treating them kindly and making an effort to advise them extra well regarding academic issues makes a significant difference.
Yet the fact is, regardless of how we do in our present jobs, the sort of questions I listed before has been haunting us for the past few years. Now that our youngest is past three, these questions have resurfaced. The biggest issue that remains is how to be true to our dreams and ideals while at the same time guaranteeing enough food on the table (and healthcare, and a good education etc., etc.)?
This post will be continued in Part 2.
Please share your story below on how you have managed (or not) to follow your dreams, personally and professionally.
This post was inspired by two other posts: “Surviving the turmoil” and “My frame world”.
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Ecoziva in Brazil.
Photo credit to Claremont Colleges Digital Library. This photo has a creative commons attribute license.
What did you want to be when you were growing up? Is it what you are doing now? Did your dreams back then involve making the world a better place? Do they now?
Amidst all the high school and college graduations happening each week during this end-of-school-year season, I had the privilege of attending a small and sweet 5th grade graduation ceremony. During the celebration, we heard a few sentences from each child about what they wanted to achieve in their lives. To me, it was a heart-warming and inspiring experience because their answers were so different than the answers I used to hear from my pre-schoolers and their classmates. By 11 years old, my daughter and her peers have begun to see more of the world and be exposed to the problems of their communities and their planet.
When my kids and their friends were pre-schoolers, their answers to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” tended to involve jobs that were most visible to them: teacher, fireman, doctor, mommy, basketball player, etc. The 5th graders who crossed the stage this time were much more worldly than they were just six years ago.
These children have obviously been discussing thorny problems such as peace, global warming, and poverty. Kudos to their teachers for starting these conversations in class! Certainly, some kids still wanted to be doctors and athletes. Those are still great goals to reach for. But I admit that I got a bit teary eyed to hear a wide range of choices represented by the kids. Here are my favorite quotes from the celebration:
“My contribution to the world is going to be working at food shelters. I would like to work in other countries where food is most needed. I plan to go to medical school to become a general practitioner. I will care for sick people at the food shelters as well.”
“I plan to find a fuel for cars that doesn’t use gasoline. I will get my degree in science and engineering to help me research fuel alternatives. I will keep trying and perservere until I find a greener alternative for our environment. I am hoping to explore solar powered fuel and fuel generated by a high powered small windmill inside the car’s engine.”
“In my lifetime I hope to contribute to the world by changing laws so that we are helping and not hurting foreign economies. I will get there by writing letters to Congress and lobbying.”
“In my lifetime, I hope to contribute to the world by making the world a peaceful place. I will get there by explaining to people that we need to work together instead of fighting one another.”
“In my life, I hope to have a happy family, a career as a writer and have a reputation for being a kind and generous young woman I hope to be a person that makes a big change in this world and who helps a lot of people. I will accomplish that by starting to help people today.”
The kids are old enough to start understanding the challenges of our time and still young enough to be idealists unaffected by the Negative Nellies of the world who will eventually tell them “it can’t be done.” My wish for these children is that they will keep dreaming their dreams, get the education that will refine their ideas, keep thinking both locally and globally, and – above all – keep being inspired by the world’s problems and not be beaten down by them. I also hope that parents, teachers, and other adults in their lives will be inspired by their optimism and help them to build a world in which we can all survive and thrive.
IMAGE CREDIT MARK RAMSAY / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS
This is an original post written by Cindy Levin for World Moms Blog. Cindy also writes at Anti-Poverty Mom.
Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The United Nations General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.
In honor of today, Susie Newday, our writer from Israel, dreams of a different kind of world…
I Dream of a World
If we don’t dream, then our dreams can’t possibly come true.
Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream that came true. Susan Boyle dreamed a dream and that came true too. And I dream of a world, a fabulous loving tolerant world that I hope I’ll be privileged enough to live and see.
I dream of a world where the dream of true peace is a reality, not just a distant dream.
Our world is anything but black and white. There is no one wrong and one right. There are only degrees of separation. We live in a world that is actually a world of vibrant rainbow colors. Yet one that, sadly, is muddied and clouded by intolerance, feuds, hate and fear.
I dream of a different world. (more…)