When the Tennessee Mountain Man was a young man, there were dream girls. Girls like Liz Taylor, Raquel Welch, Marilyn Monroe, Diana Ross, Nancy Sinatra, Tina Turner and the Vargas girls. Man, we even thought Dale Evans, Annie Oakley, Miss Kitty, Della Street, and the girl next door were hot... probably a hormone thing.
But, there were also dreamers. Dreamers like John Kennedy who had a dream that challenged and inspired a new generation. Dreamers like Martin Luther King, Jr. who had a dream that changed a nation. Bobby Kennedy had a dream. The Gipper had a dream.
Then there were the dream makers... dream makers like school teachers who challenged you to be all you could be, professionals like lawyers and doctors who practiced their skills primarily because they cared for their fellow man often for a pound of butter, a dozen fresh farm eggs, a chicken for the dinner table, or a gallon of fresh churned buttermilk, and there were men of God who spread the Gospel out of love for something other than numbers, pride and money. There were local community leaders who inspired and they actually got out on the street and interacted with their citizens.
The poet Langston Hughes:
"Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow."
Where are the Dr Kildare's that dare challenge one to a noble service bigger than themselves rather than seeking self aggrandizement?
Where is America's future? Where are all the dream inspiring TV shows and actual road trips like Route 66? Where are real cars that people can fall in love with? Where are all the road side stands where a child's imagination could be driven for hours without anything being stolen or broken?
Where have all the dreamers gone? Where have the dream makers gone? Why are those who started with nothing but a dream now setting comfortably in their million dollar homes sipping brandy in the evening and ensconced in their ivory towers by day while dreamers disappear from the landscape? Who do they think will inspire a new generation to dream, to dare if they don't? What we have been given, what we have accomplished comes with a price which cannot be abdicated. The dream, the inspiration must be passed to a new generation. They must strive for a new frontier.
Oh, community pride, community love, community care, 4-H Clubs, Boy Scouts, FFA, school plays and cake walks where art thou? The Computerman don't see his grandchildren pursuing any of these things or dreaming about what could be. We have not arrived by a long shot. Where is the next generation and what will it accomplish? Will it add anything worthwhile to God's earth or be self absorbed or be couch potatoes playing with the latest gizmo?
Does your pastor inspire the young people, or is he or she just there to count heads and collect dollars? If it is not the former, it is time for a new pastor. Do the teachers in your schools inspire and motivate students? If not, send them packing. Their grossly extended vacation schedule and short hours be damned. Let them do that for which they are best suited like slinging burgers at the Golden Arches rather than holding back our prodigy. Do civic and political leaders lead? If not, replace them, and the sooner the better for the next generation of dreamers.
Why is hanging in the hood so popular today? Why are gangs and gang bangers so prevalent? Why can't our children dream beyond their current circumstances? We did! We wanted to be Wyatt Earp (at least the TV image), Matt Dillon, The Lawman, Perry Mason, Dr Marcus Welby, M.D., Paladin, Pat Garrett or perhaps even the Reverend Billy Graham or the next Reverend Dr Martin Luther King or a Sister Theresa or maybe Elvis or Ricky Nelson and we enjoyed watching Lassie while wolfing down a big bowl of pop corn or home parched peanuts while we dreamed.
We had to dream before we acted, before we accomplished. Before we had the answers there were the dreams. There was a dream, then there was Rosa Parks. There was a dream, then there was John Glenn!
We dreamed... we dreamed of being... we dreamed of becoming... we dreamed of serving... we dreamed of living... we dreamed of loving... we dreamed of giving... We dreamed.
In the theater of our minds we slipped the surly bonds of earth and dared ponder the possibilities that lay before us.
What happened? Where have all the dreamers gone? Are today's sick, addicted, anorexic pop stars tomorrows future? Where are the dream makers? Who can capture the imagination and propel it forward through the haze of uncertainty and through the unknown into a better brighter tomorrow? Who? Where are the dream makers?! Where are the dreamers?!