I have written a lot about the importance of dreaming and of empowering others to recognize and work toward their dreams. I am working on my own “dream book” full of the dreams that I hold in my heart – simple, achievable dreams and wild, impossible dreams. Even though I truly believe in the power and positive energy surrounding dreams, I sometimes struggle with the steps between writing down a dream and eventually seeing it come to full fruition.
In our local paper yesterday, there was a short editorial that reinforced the importance and power of dreams. The editorial was called “Miracle on Gregory” and it told the story of Nativity Preparatory Academy. A very short version of the story is this: A handful of Jesuits had a dream to open a school in the city which would prepare students living in poverty for college by offering a wraparound program that included a challenging curriculum and strong values. When the school opened, the first few months were a nightmare as children resisted the discipline – desks were thrown, children would lie down in the hallways. The dreamers wondered if the school would survive, but they persevered. At the end of the school year, a program was presented by the students which drew tears, cheers, and a standing ovation from the guests.
This inspiring story of a dream in the process of coming true reminded me that this work can be very difficult. To dream up a wonderful idea is hard. To take all the steps to make it come true is hard. To persevere when things go wrong is hard. To persevere when even more things go wrong is hard. But, to watch a dream take shape is wonderful. To make a list of steps that will turn a dream into a reality is fulfilling. To figure out how to work through the problems is energizing. To realize that a dream is coming true is a great blessing. To see the good that your dream is having in the lives of other people is a moment of pure joy and grace.
The message to me as I was reading this story came through loud and clear. Dreams are important. Dreams can change the world. I don’t know the whole story of the birthing of Nativity Prep. I don’t know if it began as the dream of one person, or as the common dream of a group of people. I can only imagine the number of steps it took to get from the dream to the reality of opening the door on the first day of school. I can only imagine the work that went on during the year to move the students from resisters to embracers of the school’s dream for them and then further on to having dreams for their own future. I can only imagine the good that the school is doing in the lives of the teachers, in the lives of the students, in the lives of the families, in the lives of the neighborhoods, in the future of our City. One dream, one kind of impossible dream. Lots of work. But yielding such a rich harvest.
This story inspires me to take a look at my own dreams. It inspires me to move some of my dreams along, to work to make them come to reality. I want a story like that of Nativity Prep in my own life. I want to have dreamed and worked and persevered and succeeded. I want one of my dreams to make a difference.