by Ronald E. Johnson, C.Ph.D.
For many years, I have practiced the habit of challenging teenagers with the question, “What is your big dream?” Most teenagers momentarily look a bit startled, then respond with a definite statement. Others will be perplexed and answer, “I am not sure; I really do not know.” For those youth, I ask another question, “If you knew that you could not fail at a particular career, what would you want to try?” Then, their eyes usually light up as they blurt out a dream that apparently has been simmering just below the surface. The light in their eyes gradually fades as their minds recall awkward and often hurtful memories that seem to have killed the dream.
The difference between the two types of teenagers is usually the result of parental or mentor training. Wise parents and mentors realize that “dream building” is a vital component of life. People with a compelling dream have less trouble dealing with the multitude of temporal temptations that too often derail youth from success and fulfillment. People who do not dream of a noble or lofty goal are usually victim to derailing circumstances.
Noble dreams carry youth past temptations that war against puberty’s relentless pressure to satisfy curiosity and physical urges. A “dreamer” has the advantage of a courageous soul that can readily reject offers to perform acts that would “kill the dream.” Dreamers display character to wave off temptations that capture and kill dreams of other youth. Dreamers stand above the fray of life. They march to a different drum beat than is heard by the crowd. That which calls dreamers is a distant goal that simply is too valuable to be sacrificed on the alter of convenience, desire, pride, curiosity, or vengeance.
The gift of being able to dream begins with exposure to positive role models early in life: gallant soldiers, brave nurses, persistent missionaries, relentless detectives, noble statesmen, courageous explorers, stalwart evangelists, and patient teachers. Youth need constant exposure to the lives of other dreamers whose lives made (make) a difference in society. Dreams are caught and passed on to the next generation. Without dreamers, a culture will die. Dreamers keep the flames of liberty alive! Help your teenagers be dreamers of lofty and noble goals!
Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum features vignettes of noble dreamers who overcame adversity, temptations, trauma, and persecution to make positive differences in their local circumstances. For more information or to review samples of English, history, and science courses, check www.pacworks.com. Comments are welcome at Learn@pacworks.com or PH: 325-649-0976.
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