Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.

Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2000 06:37:45 -0400 (EDT)
Random Thought: To Dream

I just received a message that came out of nowhere by a person with whom I have never had contact. She blindsided me. She said she had read my Random Thought on creativity. She called me a dreamer in such an accusing tone as if I was threatening the very foundation of the world of academia and was about to bring the halls of ivy tumbling down. I guess "dream" to her is one of those word that seems out of place in the intellectual world of academia. Personally, I think it has to be the foundation. The tone of the message left little doubt of the professor's skepticism. That's okay. Skeptical is okay as long as skeptical is a starting point and not the finish line. An open-minded skeptical leads to study and to smart. A close-minded skeptical leads to stubborn to stupid.

Anyway, this professor said that I have my head in the clouds and that I instead should have my feet on the ground. That's okay, too. Then, I started thinking about her comments.

How can I soar into the clouds or climb mountains with my feet planted on the ground. Yes, I am a dreamer. I plead "no contest." No, I plead "guilty as charged." What's wrong with that? I don't think being a dreamer is to be a genetically flawed professional. Tell me of one thinker, one achiever, one experimenter, one leader, one inventor who wasn't dream, whose accomplishments weren't his or her dreams come true.

I let my dreams be an inspiration to all things positive and possible because no one can place limits on my dreams. It's my dreams that help me to put first things first, to ask "Am I doing the right thing?" as a guide to asking "Am I doing things right?" It's my dreams that, as it says somewhere in Scripture, put my hands to the plow, that keep my eyes ahead, fixed on the goal, to deal with obstacles and cut straight furrows, to keep on keeping on, and to keep me from looking back and cutting crooked furrows, that almost forces me to complete my efforts. It's my dreams that evoke the meaningful and true north "why" for all the "whats" and "hows" and "dos." So the skies the limit, and its dreams that transform reality. They're the starting line for great things; they're the road to fulfillment; they create possibilities, broaden horizons, expand worlds, create new realities.

Am I a dreamer? You bet I am! I am a "positive" dreamer. Positive dreaming is a step in the process of teaching. It creates a "it can happen" spirit of hope and belief and faith. I am an "its possible" dreamer. And, I translate that into being a practioning positive and possible teacher. One way or another, I will do it. That means I am always thinking of different ways things can happen, designing a variety of plans, thinking of what I can do, and figuring out what steps I can take to take action.

Action is important. I am not impressed with someone who merely says, "I am comitted." I am more impressed with someone who says, "I am comitted to do." I am really impressed with someone who does, who is faithful, to the point of ridicule, of being laughed at or snickered at. When that happens, that person is no longer a part of the faceless herd, the nameless culture. Someone once told me that people don't laugh at you unless you're doing something right.

The incentive to develop a moral identity of caring is the most pressing need in my teaching: To perform one pure act of love, to be a blessing to someone, to make a difference to someone, to be a life to someone else. We have to tear down our own restricting fences, reject rejection, drag on in spite of the drag of "reality," lift the limits on our own limitations, explore our own world, believe in our own possibilities and those of others. It's my dreams that keep my hand to the plow. I don't fear how, and I'm not afraid of making a mistake or taking a misstep or asking a question; I'm not afraid of being authentic. Doubt will come. Self-doubt will come. The dream won't allow any of them tp deter or do damage. Dreams won't let you teach merely to earn a living or just to exist. I truly believe that giving persons are living persons, true teachers. Those people, like you said, to requote Emily Dickenson, "dwell in possibility."

This professor said I can't change the world. Probably not. Besides, I'm not out to change the world. I'm not responsible for changing the entire world or altering the entire "system" every time I do something. Atlas and Hercules I am not. I am responsible for changing my own little world. And as I impact on my world, it impacts however slightly or imperceptively on the larger world: one student, one class, one day, one semester. One by one by one. Out of these ones come many.

A dreamer? I'd rather soar on the uplifting currents of dreams than be stuck in the drag of the heavy wet sand of supposed "reality." This professor said I should stop dreaming. Stop dreaming? That would, crush my spirit. Doesn't say it somewhere in proverbs that a crushed spirit dries up the bones?

Make it a good day.


Louis Schmier   
Department of History 
Valdosta State University
Valdosta, GA  31698                          /~\        /\ /\
912-333-5947                      /^\      /     \    /  /~\  \   /~\__/\
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                       -_~    /  "If you want to climb mountains,   \ /^\
                        _ _ /      don't practice on mole hills" -    \____

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