Our society urges children to dream big; to follow, even fight for, their dreams. These are laudable sentiments. But they presuppose that children can one day transform their dreams into reality.
For some children, reality is so painful that dreams are their only escape from it. Whether this is the result of poverty or abuse, fantasy seems preferable.
Oh, the dreams, themselves, are beautiful. Every detail is clear.
The dreamers will live in an enormous palace, on a silver lake. They will drink from golden goblets, wield magical swords, wear pearl-studded gowns or impenetrable armor, and sleep on satin sheets.
They will become world famous ballerinas, applauded by millions, or physicians who cure disease with the wave of a wand. They will become race car drivers, and own fleets of flashy limousines. They will discover the lost city of Atlantis and raise it from the sea, or fly rocket ships to the farthest stars.
Tragically, the children dreaming these dreams have no means of achieving them, and no one to show them how to implement such goals.
Rather than a source of motivation, their dreams become self-defeating traps, all too often enhanced and perpetuated by illegal drugs in later life.
Hope and Consolation
These dreams do serve a purpose. They offer hope and consolation. They are the promise of a bright, if forever distant, future – a respite from the painful present.
But the staircase to the stars is missing. The nuts and bolts of daily living are absent.
There is no one to say, “Stay in school. Don’t drop out.” No one to say, “You can do it. Just pace yourself. Take one step at a time.” There is no one to explain that dreams are converted to reality through patience, perseverance, and hard work; that sweat is a necessary element.
When genuine opportunities present themselves, they go unrecognized.
Waking from the Dream
Dreamers lives in a world of their own. Asleep, they are incapable of making sound choices, incapable of moving forward with life. Only when they awaken can they begin to make their dreams come true.
That requires love and encouragement from the adults around them, something far too often lacking.
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