I drive my kids crazy at the beginning of the school year. Almost every night for the first week it’s “What did you learn today?” or “What do you think of your teachers?” and on and on. The beginning of the year, like any new beginning, holds so much promise. We don’t really talk too much about the curriculum in detail. I trust the school to shape an appropriate course of study. I’m more interested in the classroom experience. Are they being challenged to think big or is it rote learning? Are they encouraged to come up with new ideas?
I’ve had the good fortune of a fairly liberal education. My teachers and my parents, by and large, challenged me to think for myself. My parents never went the traditional corporate route and I am just beginning to realize what a gift that has been for me.
As I grow older one of the biggest challenges I face is to continue to dream. Our dreams are uninhibited and free when we are young. But as we grow old we carry around the detritus of broken dreams. We long for what might have been. Or our dreams become burdensome, silly, hopeless. I have certainly had to rework certain dreams and discard others but the fact that I can dream is often reward enough.
Woodrow Wilson said: “We grow great by dreams; All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter evening. Some of us let these great dreams die; but others nourish and protect them; nurse them through the bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true.”
Most of my favorite songs discuss the concept of dreams.
“Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true or is it something worse?” The River by Bruce Springsteen.
“They tear at the world with all their might, while the ships bearing their dreams sail out of sight.” The Pretender by Jackson Browne.
“For you will still be here tomorrow but your dreams may not.” Father and Son by Cat Stevens.
These lyrics hold meaning for me because they are reminders about the importance of continuing to dream.