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Soon my big dream of making a difference in this area was gone. It died. And with it, part of my joy became less bright. My spirit, temporarily, withered.
This must be what Langston Hughes meant when he wrote these lines in "Dreams": "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly."
Do you believe that? I do. That's why I continue to dream even when some dreams die out.
YOUR DREAMS COUNT These days much of my passion for dreaming is focused on my two little boys. When I dream big, I dream about the kind of men I'd like them to be.
I dream about the qualities I'd like my sons to cultivate. I made a list of these qualities, with my husband, and I'm energized most days—even after little sleep with a sick 2-year-old—about this big dream.
My personal dreams these days, as opposed to my dreams from 20 years ago, have more to do with significance than success. In addition to the character qualities of my sons, I care deeply about the state of marriage in our country.
I think that if the divorce rate could be lowered significantly, it would be one of the single greatest social revolutions of our lifetime. So I put a lot of my energy into that dream. I dream about seeing seasoned couples mentoring younger couples. With my husband, I write about it, speak about it, and work with others to do what we can to make this dream come true.
I have a dream of helping a local ministry for the needy in Seattle become the best it can be. I volunteer my time there when I can, and I support it financially.
Dreams change over time and as we age. What may seem like a big dream to some women will seem rather puny to others. That's OK. We are all contributing to the great collage that makes a difference. And whatever a particular woman's dreams are, you can be assured that they are a vital means to helping her discover how she is designed to make a difference.
I live in Seattle and so, perhaps, it follows that I love coffee. The largest cup, venti, is not an uncommon order for me. Most of my thoughts about life—and my prayers—have been scribbled on a napkin in the white space that forms the margins around the green-ringed Starbucks logo.
And that's where recently I wrote: "I dare to dream venti."
And I do. If there's one thing I've learned about making a difference with my life it's that my difference-making is only limited by the size of my dreams. And so is yours.
That's why I hope you dream big. I hope you talk to a trusted friend or two about your dreams. I hope you pray about them often.
"Dreams are the touchstones of our character," Henry David Thoreau said. "Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake."
So dream venti!
Leslie Parrott, Ed.D., is co-founder with her husband, Les, of the Seattle-based Center for Relationship Development.
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