"Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace." Amelia Earhart
When I was six years old, my Mom gave me a picture of Amelia Earhart for my desk. She told me the story of a woman in the 1930s who defied convention and dared to dream - following her passion. She was a pilot. My Mom told me I could do or be anything I wanted.
Thanks to my Mom, I read books like the Three Musketeers, Robinson Crusoe, many of the Greek tragedies, and even read the Encyclopedia Britannica by the time I was about 11 years old. My grandmother's best friends, Marion & Sam had collected National Geographic magazines for years having an entire wall shelf of them in their basement that they patiently allowed me to borrow two at a time.
My parents encouraged me to play sports - tee ball, baseball, basketball - and yes, I even played touch football with the North View crew at the park across the street from where I lived until the street lights came on. The boys let me play because I could throw a spiral and surprisingly I could catch, making me a great wide receiver because none of them wanted to guard a girl!
Growing up, I watched movies like Little Women and Bringing Up Baby with Katherine Hepburn - who wore pants! Even, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner with Sidney Poitier. Mom would try to find movies with strong women in it for us to watch together... although I never knew that's what she was doing at the time. I just thought they were great stories!
In this way, my mom was teaching me to dream. To believe. To imagine and to know that the only limitations I had were the ones I placed on myself. Much like Joey Drayton (the daughter in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner), I was completely oblivious to artificial barriers like race, sex, or religious differences... looking back, I'm amazed and incredibly grateful.
I was taught to dream.
I was taught what courage was... heroism... and the need to serve. Mom introduced me to history. I learned about Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., Bobby & Jack Kennedy, FDR, who the 82nd Airborne was, but also what Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini did. She balanced that with movies like "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and "It's a Wonderful Life" which is probably my all-time favorite movie.
Mom let me stay home from school on the day The Challenger shuttle was to go into space. As a teacher, she wanted us to watch Christa McAuliff - a teacher - make history... so we sat hand in hand watching with excitement and then cried together as the tragedy unfolded. Here again, she blended a love of history with making the time to share a moment together.
But even then, even when we watched a tragedy - Mom took the opportunity to remind me that Christa knew the risks but dared to dream anyway. I remember that because it was one of those moments where Mom looked me right in the eyes. She wanted me to HEAR her. The DREAM was bigger than the tragedy... bigger than the risk and the failure.
Why does this matter?
As we go through life - whether it's with our kids, friends, co-workers or family - it's important that we remind one another that it's more than okay to dream!
Take the time in however many ways you can think of to teach your kids or your spouse/family, etc. to DREAM! to BELIEVE! to have a VISION! (even if that's watching a movie together)... When you do that, you are instilling courage and it's THAT courage that will see them through and help them reach their goal.
Fear is overcome by courage. Courage provides the confidence to ACT and to BELIEVE...
Amelia also said: "The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward so ...decide...whether or not the goal is worth the risks involved. If it is, stop worrying..."
Empower those you love! Teach them to Dream! To Dream Courageously!
THINK. WRITE. BELIEVE. ACT.