Coach’s Challenge for 7/13/09
Good day, team,
This week I heard a program on NPR about astronauts and their experience of landing on the moon. One of the Apollo 12 astronauts, Alan Bean, who was the lunar module pilot for the mission, was interviewed with his co-writer of a children’s book about astronauts.
The interviewer asked Bean, “Does a man feel different after walking on the moon?” Bean replied, “I think he feels satisfied. I think his childhood dreams are satisfied. You don’t have to go to the moon for that. If your childhood dream is to become a doctor and you become one, then your dreams are satisfied. It all depends on what’s in your heart and what your dreams are.”
This insight raised a question for me that is the theme of this week’s challenge. What were my childhood dreams? Was there one in particular that has stayed with me all these years? Did any of my dreams come true? Have I pursued that which I held most dear in my heart?
Frankly, in thinking about this subject, I was surprised to realize that I had a hard time remembering what my life dreams were when I was a child, so I spent some time thinking about it today.
I do remember that I wanted to travel overseas, and I’m happy to say that I’ve not only traveled to but also lived in foreign places at times in my life. I wanted to be a dancer in a big Broadway musical, but the closest I got was dancing and singing in high school musicals. For awhile, I dreamed of being the first lady, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to do that without being married to a president. Unfortunately, all the presidents I was familiar with as a child seemed like fuddy duddies, although when John F. Kennedy took office, my dream was renewed.
When I got a little bit older, I dreamt about becoming a race car driver. The closest I got was driving a Ferrari around a racetrack in upstate New York one summer when I worked in a booth there. One trip around the track at 120 miles per hour was enough to satisfy my dream. I never dreamed about becoming a writer, but I’ve always just done it, so I guess to some extent, it’s a dream fulfilled. I always had a deep desire to find the kernel of truth that runs through all things, to share what I learned with others, and to someday become one with the universe. No small desire to be sure, but that dream still lives in my heart as much today as it always has.
But what struck me most was how distant the idea of having a dream has become for me as an adult. What happens to that incredible enthusiasm we have as children when we wish with all of our hearts and minds that a particular dream comes true? When my cousin George was 12, he dreamed about becoming Superman. It was all he could talk about. His room was filled with pictures and comic books of Superman. He tried jumping off the roof of the dog house with a towel safety-pinned to his T-shirt so he could feel what it would be like to fly with a cape. (The dog seemed very distressed by his attempt.) When my Aunt Gerry bought him a Superman costume for Halloween—he wouldn’t even consider going dressed as anyone else—George wore the costume for the next six weeks. He even slept in it! His parents finally had to hide it one night while he was in the bathtub. I’m not sure he ever forgave them.
So what happens to that desire that makes us want our dreams to come true more than anything else in the whole wide world? Ask yourself this week what your childhood dreams were and whether they have come true. See if you can pinpoint one thing you wanted for yourself more than anything else. As a child, when you looked at the broad vista of your life before you, who did you think you would become?
What are you doing today that reflects your childhood hopes and dreams? Maybe you always wanted to be a cowboy or a ballerina. Did you wish you could fly or run faster than anyone else? Was your dream to serve other people? Maybe you didn’t have a vision of a particular activity, but rather a sense of what your destiny was. Perhaps you wanted to become a tennis champion, own your own bakery, or sing in a choir.
Spend some time thinking this week about what you dreamed for yourself and if any of that came true. If it has, then as Alan Bean commented, you can feel satisfied. If it hasn’t, why not make your dream come true?
Take some sound advice from Pinocchio’s life coach, Jiminy Cricket: http://solosong.net/wish.html.
Have a good week!
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