Fifty-seven years ago, today, these words became forever etched into our cultural zeitgeist, and continue to echo across the vast expanse of history.
“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.…I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. August 28, 1963
The fact that I can sit back and reflect on these powerful words is alone a testament to the man, and the message delivered. These words force me to question whether or not I am living up to the dreams shared by Dr. King? Whether I’m judging people not by the color of their skin tone, but the content of their character?
Have my wife and I raised children that align with the core of his message? If I take out a mirror, will my life reflect his hopes and dreams?
The motto of my former prep school is “Character Before Career.”
As a teenager, I looked and shook my heads at those words. They meant nothing to me. Just letters on a plaque at the entrance of a school. Words on a letterhead. As Paul wrote, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child;” (1 Corinthians 13:3, NRSV).
As an adult, they’re words of inspiration. A call to arms. A call to be the difference Dr. King spoke of in his I Have A Dream, and many other speeches. A friend recently shared a quip that rings true, “Please let me be the person my dog thinks I am.”
I don’t know if I’m making a difference in society, my neighborhood, or even my home. I believe I am, but who truly knows? I do know that all it takes one person to make a difference. To enable change. According to scholars, the Law of Action states that you must do the things and perform the actions necessary to achieve what you are setting out to do.
Some might say, in Dr. King’s case, his actions started with the Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott in 1955. I wonder if he envisioned his boycott taking him to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial before more than 200,000 people gathered for a “Freedom March” in Washington in 1963, to deliver one of the most influential speeches?
In my fifty-plus-years, I know I’ve changed, or dare I say, matured. Not entirely, mind you. I still think The Three Stooges, Abbott and Costello and Buster Keaton are hilarious. In my opinion, Mel Brooks and Neil Simon are comedic geniuses. The silliness and one-liners from Seinfeld (Hello…Newman), Friends (Pivot!), The Office (US Version) (That’s what she said.) and Modern Family (What’s the plan, Phil?) will forever tickle my fancy. The last quote should go on my gravestone, but I digress.
What about you? Are you living your dream? If not, why not? And what can I do to help? If someone told me five years ago that I’d publish two novels with a third on the way, and begin working on a screenplay, all before the end of 2020, I would have laughed in their face. But today, the story’s changed.
My story has changed. My dreams have changed. What are your hopes and goals for the future, and how can I help you transform and live your dream? It’s never too late to start shifting your narrative.
Please leave your comments below. Tell us about your dreams. It all starts with that first step; with that first…Dream.