What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
– Langston Hughes
Dreams are fragile. Without proper care and nurturing, they will never become fully realized. I saw many dreams deferred in the neighborhood where I grew up. We all started out with potential and promise, but many of my friends gave up on their dreams because they couldn’t see past the poverty that surrounded us. There was little room for dreaming when your dad is gone or your mom has lost her job or your brother is addicted to drugs. Under these circumstances dreaming was foolish. All that mattered was survival.
Thank God my mother was foolish enough to dream of a better future for me. She always gave me words of encouragement and taught me that I was capable of achieving great things. Her support and confidence gave me the freedom to dream for myself. My mother nurtured these dreams by encouraging my love of reading by taking me to the library on a regular basis. Even though she didn’t have much money, she still managed to scrimp together enough cash to pay for art classes, purchase a set of encyclopedias, and eventually buy me my own computer.
But her biggest dream was for me to attend college. She was adamant about this one because her own dream of attending college was deferred. Although I couldn’t see how we could make it work financially, my mother never allowed me to be discouraged. She told me to focus on doing the work and everything would work out. She was right. In 1994, I graduated from Howard University. I thanked my mother for believing in me and for the sacrifices she made along the way. She thanked me for making her dream come true.
Now that I’m a dad, I have many dreams for my children. Like most parents, I want them to graduate from college, have successful careers, and have families. But there are many other dreams that I’d like to see come to fruition.
I dream of a day when my children will be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.
I dream of a day when telling someone that they throw, run, or act like a girl isn’t an insult.
I dream of a day when my sons can say that they learned what they needed to know about fatherhood by watching my example.
I dream of a day when my daughter believes that she can be President of the United States because she has seen a woman in the Oval Office.
I dream of a day when my children are making a difference in the world by impacting the lives of others with their compassion, generosity, and love.
I dream of a day when my children can travel the world and visit all of the places they’ve read about in books or saw on the internet.
I dream of a day when I can play with my grandchildren on Christmas Day when the whole family is gathered in our home to celebrate the holiday.
I dream of a day when my children will say, “Thank you, Dad, for encouraging us to dream and giving us the courage to believe in the power of dreams.”
I dream of a day when my children can dream for their children.
I am confident that these dreams will come true. My mother taught me that dreaming isn’t foolish. It’s just the first step to achieving your goals.
Frederick J. Goodall, Mocha Man Style Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief