Many of our students are studying Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. I love teaching this speech not only because of its literary merit but because it opens up discussion with students about their dreams. And while I love grammar, writing, and literature, listening to students’ dreams really gets my heart pumping. However, I’ve noticed one thing: when I ask for the game plan to accomplish a dream, students usually say they will graduate high school, go to college, make some money, then work on their dream to which I say, “NOOOOO.” Students don’t have to wait to fulfill dreams, but I think adults often rationalize them out of going for a dream in order to do the smart, safe thing. So this week, let’s look at some young people who took risks and ultimately changed the world.
Alexander the Great conquered a lot of the world and ruled his own colony by the time he was 16.
Joan of Arc led the French army to several victories during the Hundred Years War, was caught and executed because she would not deny her beliefs. She was 20 when she died.
Mary Shelly wrote Frankenstein (one of my favorite novels) at the age of 19.
Louis Braille had an accident at age 3 which left him blind. By the age of 15, he had invented the Braille system for blind people to read.
Ask your child sometime this week about his or her dream. Ask them about plans to accomplish the dream. Help them dream. Help them plan. Read about young leaders and revolutionaries and talk about these with your kids. Dream on . . . .
What is one step you can take this week to encourage your child to dream or act on a dream?