Some people exercise.
Some people meditate.
Some people pray.
Everyone has a different method of mentally and physically preparing for their day.
I soak in a warm bath. I realize that baths are usually reserved for children under eight, but it has always worked for me. One morning as I was in the bath, relaxing and mentally getting ready for my day, my daughter busted through the door and asked, "Daddy can I tell you about my dream?"
The interruption took my by surprise, but it was a pleasant one nonetheless.
Apparently in her dream, my wife and I were not yet married. But in the dream, on stage, at a Michael Jackson concert, I proposed to my wife, and she said yes. My retelling of the dream does not do her creativity and imagination justice. She was much more vivid.
But, this magical little moment made me wonder. How many children do not have someone to share their dreams with? How many children wake up with grand fairy tales in their heads only to have them never reach their lips?
Lonely is not a feeling when you are alone. Lonely is a feeling when no one cares.
Imagine having something so wonderful, so amazing, so incredible that you just must share it with someone. But you have no one.
I can’t imagine this scenario because I have always had someone to listen to my dreams. To hear of the dragons I slayed or the kingdoms I ruled. I have been lucky. Simply having someone to listen and listen well can mean the world to a child. And yet many children that we serve each day have no one. Unfortunately, most of the time children spend at school involves us talking and them listening.
We need to let children know that we care about their dreams so that they continue to dream. We need to let them know that we want to hear more about their fairy tales. Not just because they’re fun and it's important. But also because as we get older we begin to lose our wings.
Why can’t you fly now, mother?
Because I am grown up, dearest. When people grow up they forget the way.
Why do they forget the way?
Because they are no longer gay and innocent and heartless. It is only the gay and innocent and heartless who can fly.
J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
I hate to wonder what would have happened to my daughter’s ability to dream if I had not been there to listen. Maybe she would’ve started to dream a little less. Maybe she wouldn’t fly quite as high. I am just glad I was there to listen, to hear, to fly with her.
As we prepare for our days at school we need to make sure we leave a little room in the day to listen. Not about reading. Not about math. Not about history or science. But about dreams.
Everyone needs somebody who is there to just listen.
George: Guys like us that work on ranches are the loneliest guys in the world. They ain’t got no family and they don’t belong no place. They got nothin’ to look ahead to…
Lennie: But not us George. Tell about us.
George: …well, we ain’t like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody cares.
Lennie: But not us, George, because I… see, I got you to look after me, but you got me to look after you.
Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
Listen to some dreams today. And, maybe, just maybe, you’ll earn your wings back!