The definitive hope for every human being is to earn a livelihood at doing what they love. But alas, this aspiration appears unfathomable for the great majority. And it is — to a certain degree depending on their age and their philosophy. If one wishes to be a ballerina or an exceptional chef, beginning at fifty is wishful thinking. To thrive and excel in a specific field requires development and years of training. One cannot master a given discipline without the commitment and personal sacrifice; a simple truth that’s been corroborated by the history of mankind. Yet all the same, broken dreams because of circumstance can still be salvaged by guiding the youth, the next generation of fearless dreamers.
By and large, the fortunate children of the bourgeoisie have the most favorable chances of fulfilling their dreams as their basic necessities are amply provided, such as food and water, clothing and shelter, and top-quality schooling. Unfortunately, the world as we know it is terribly destructive. It’s exorbitantly cruel and quite relentless — apathetic to our suffering. And thereby, a significant portion of the global community is sadly deprived of the human essentials.
Various countries throughout the world are mired by strife and chronic bloodshed. Those who are living in volatile settings, such as Syria, Somalia, or Guatemala, are just trying to survive; trying to preserve their bit of sanity amid the violence and turmoil. For these adults and weary children, the notion of a dream is more or less a luxury…too far-fetched to even imagine. And tragically, if they manage to immigrate to another country, which might be hostile and uninviting, their time and energy are fully consumed with the acclimation of a new environment. Such arduous surroundings can gradually deter — a dreamer from dreaming.
This predicament is a grave reality for scores of people. The fate of war, genocide, or abject poverty had prevented their dreams from cultivating. As a result, these adverse situations have created a void, an ill-fated sorrow, which lingers in the depths of their soul. They are keenly aware. They are cognizant of their missed opportunities, and it hurts profoundly as their mortality imminently awaits. Their buried dreams cannot be disinterred, for the game is over, at least on the surface.
Yet still, a glimmer of hope continues to endure — right in the face of Father Time. Beneath the surface reveals the truth, the grand scheme of life for each and every one of us. Once we have realized that we are a part — of something greater than ourselves, we begin to see clearly, as if the film on the window had been wiped away. And hence, no matter our age, we can still shape the future…by way of our children.
Think of Obama. His phenomenal ascent in world politics was the culmination of sacrifice from those who had toiled before him, e.g., Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Sidney Poitier, and Maya Angelou. Without their efforts and personal hardships, Barack Obama would be an obscurity, an unknown figure to the global populace. But fortunately, individuals like Martin Luther King Jr. were sage enough to fight and struggle for tomorrow’s youth, yet somberly knowing that his own opportunities were vastly restricted by the benighted society.
The parents of today must act in a fashion that is akin to these sages; they must fight for the youth as it pertains to our future. They must embolden their children to follow their hearts…via self-knowledge. Reading, writing, arithmetic, and history are certainly vital to their scholastic repertoire, but a total education requires a child to develop himself inwardly. The latter cannot be taught since the journey is within. The spiritual calling can only be discovered by the individual, attested by historical luminaries like Thomas Edison. No one had advised him to be an inventor. It just came naturally within his heart. No one had suggested that Albert Einstein become a scientist. It was something innate and cosmically deep-rooted. And no one had instructed Beethoven to be a musician. It was already there inside of his bones. For these brilliant individuals, their purpose in life was inherently revealed over the framework of time during their seminal years as children and adolescents. In the end, they went on to fulfill their destiny, which in turn, helped benefit our society.
If a child ignores their spiritual calling, they will inevitably share in their parents’ demise. And for that reason, parents must persuade their children to avoid the same fate. They must convince their progeny to pursue their hearts — no matter the cost — because society won’t. As a matter of fact, our society will discourage the youth from having a dream. Of course they won’t admit to it, but that’s the inconvenient truth. For dreams are not practical in a money driven world.
Given the advancements in today’s global infrastructure, numerous countries are enjoying the perks of material comforts. This is a blessing and yet a curse to the bourgeoisie. When our external world is a bit too comfortable, we develop a tendency to play it safe, which leads to a life of mediocrity. This doesn’t bode well for a person with a dream; for chasing a dream is a formidable path, marred by trials and tribulations. A person with a dream doesn’t go with the flow; they’re not indifferent to obedience and subjugation. They are deeply passionate, which perturbs the majority who will blindly conform like empty-headed sheep. Therefore, this indolent society won’t inspire your children, so it’s up to you to be an iconoclast in order to save them.
When we love something with our entire being, we have to earn it by way of adversity. This, of course, creates a dilemma for the average parent. Parents by nature will cringe at the notion of seeing their children suffer, even for a dream. And so they resist, they discourage their offspring from actually living, from seeking the truth of their environment. Our kids just can’t exist when they grow up. They cannot settle for less or compensate their emptiness with material comforts like most adults. To acquiesce to such behavior would merely perpetuate a culture of philistines, which further deteriorates our human psyche.
With that being said, we must gather our courage to cut against the grain. We must galvanize our children to swim against the current; because no matter our age, whether we’re 25 or 85, it’s never too late to cultivate a dream that will inspire our society — if we prudently observe beneath the surface.
Photo credit: Khoa Nguyen
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