Sunday, April 17, 2011

Achieving dreams

A few weeks ago, I met up with Christine Phang to discuss a program that I wanted to do with her children in Kenya. The theme for the program would be on living their dreams.

I asked Christine, what were the dreams that her children had? Christine told me, when the children are small, and barefoot... having nothing... their dreams are endless. To become President, a doctor, a judge...

When they grow older, and have gone to school, their dreams become more materialistic... to earn enough to buy the things they want... a house, a car...

And when they are fully grown, there is huge competition for even a simple job as a dishwasher. The girls and boys normally go into domestic service, marry and have a home of their own. Thus they break the cycle of living on the streets for their generation.

But the dreams that they had as little children, those they do not reach. They cannot.

It was like receiving a slap to the face. For someone like me, who encourages youths to live for their dreams, who tells them that nothing is impossible if you're willing to give all you can to a dream... it was a shock to imagine children growing up in an environment where dreams are as unreachable as the stars in the sky.

It brought home to me, how very, truly fortunate we all are to live in the countries that we do. Yes, we do have our problems. But none of us ever had to think that the dreams we had as children could never become reality. We had the choice to make them reality.

Even the youths that I know who face harsh realities in their lives can climb that uphill path to achieving their goals. Because in our worlds, the possibilities are endless. There are barriers to overcome, but they are mere obstacles... they are not impossible mountains.

The books that I read and the videos that I watch are often of people who faced seemingly insurmountable odds and overcame them...

Liz Murray, whose life story inspired the movie "Homeless to Harvard", who went from being a homeless teen studying at nights in dark hallways to a Harvard graduate and a motivational speaker today...

Somaly Mam, who was sold into prostitution as a young teenager, who went on to establish AFESIP, a worldwide organization fighting sex trafficking and rescuing its victims...

Sr. Pauline Quinn, who was a runaway, whose shame from the abuse she went through made it impossible for her to talk to people if they looked at her, who set up the prison dogs program in America, where inmates in prison train rescued dogs to become service dogs for the disabled...

Helen Keller, who became both blind and deaf, who spoke multiple languages and was an author, an activist and a great speaker...

Nick Vujicic, born without arms and legs, a powerful motivational speaker today...

And I think of us. I think of all of us. Born with the capacities that we have, mental and physical... born in the situations that we were born in, with the gifts of education given fairly to both boys and girls... born in countries that are for the most part peaceful and rich enough in economy that we can survive and live and work...

We have so much. And the world is open before us to achieve anything we want to, if we want to.

The Bible says that, Much is expected from one to whom much is given. And when I look at how much we have in our hands... there are no excuses.

So what are the dreams you have? Hold it in your hand, face the vision, and run with it. We are so blessed to have the choice.

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