We all have dreams. Some of them come to us in the dark of night while we are asleep. Others evolve inside our minds. Of late my nocturnal sessions have been populated with spurts of nonsensical meanderings that make no sense at all. I have not had what might be called a coherent dream in many months. In fact, until very recently I was battling long bouts with insomnia brought on no doubt by my tendency to worry about the entire world. It can be exhausting to be perennially concerned about both the people around me and those in the larger realm of faraway places.
I was having trouble turning off the thought processes of my mind even when I was quite tired. A few adjustments to my daily routine has improved that situation greatly. I curbed my use of caffeine to include only one serving each morning rather than adding an afternoon lift of tea. I drink more water instead and that seems to help. I have quit watching the late news reports before retiring for the evening as well. I can’t do anything to change the situation in the middle of the night so I don’t need to concern myself until morning. I’ve also made sure that I am eating healthier foods and getting lots of exercise during the day. I additionally moved my husband and me to an upstairs bedroom that is cooler and darker at night than the master bedroom. All of those things together have led to some incredibly restful sleep and dreamless nights.
Most of my dreaming is of the daytime version. I am rather idealistic in that regard but then the whole concept of a dream is to think outside of the box and into the seemingly impossible. I suppose that many naysayers would have deemed the American revolution against the crown of the British Empire to be the stuff of fools and yet somehow those longings for freedom from tyranny materialized. When John Kennedy spoke of sending a man to the moon within a decade there were many who laughed at the very idea but with great ingenuity the United States planted a flag on the lunar surface in the time frame JFK had outlined.
Over and over again humans have dreamed of better ways of living and those seeming fantasies have materialized into realities. Our ancestors of long ago would not recognize the world with all of its innovations. We complete journeys that took them weeks and even months in a matter of hours. We live longer and in better conditions that my grandparents knew. Life has seemingly taken an upward arc every time someone has had a dream that they work hard to make come true.
We still experience many problems. There are great challenges to overcome. It will be from seemingly ridiculous dreams that we will better our situations. Things that seem impossible now will no doubt become commonplace in the future. Even as I type these words humans across the globe are using their creativity and intelligence to create new and better ways of doing things. It is up to us as a society to encourage such genius just as patrons of times past sponsored giants like Leonardo da Vinci who envisioned flying machines and medical break throughs that seemed like fiction.
I too have many dreams. I believe that our world will of necessity change drastically to stop the march of climate change that we humans have created. I envision gasoline fueled cars becoming as obsolete as buggies. I foresee homes powered by solar panels and backyard wind turbines. I think we will begin to grow smart crops that not only feed the world but also remove carbon dioxide from it. I think that we will all begin to change the way we do things and actually learn to enjoy the benefits of doing so. Our biggest obstacle will be our reticence to leave behind the old ways and try the new.
As an educator I am fully aware that we sometimes latch onto a routine way of operating our schools and do not adjust quickly enough to the needs and trends that develop over time. I dream of creating greater flexibility within our educational systems that allow for individualization of programs for each person and locale. The idea that one size fits all is limiting and absurd. Every teacher knows that we are continually losing talented students simply because our routines and methods aimed at some imagined median are bound to miss the mark for those students and locales that are outliers. We have learned how to create hybrid systems during the pandemic. Building on what we have learned will lead to better and better delivery of knowledge for everyone. No longer can we accept a lockstep approach to learning as the best option for each student.
Like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I dream of a world in which we no longer hold prejudices and preconceived notions about any human. This is perhaps the most challenging problem that we face as people and the only way that we can continue to improve will be to admit that we have a serious situation rather than glossing over the issues with platitudes and good intentions. Sometimes we simply need to listen to and believe those who tell us how difficult it is to be a minority in society. We are still spending too much time defending offenses of the past that are actually indefensible and speaking over the cries of those attempting to tell how bad things still are.
I have so many more dreams. I want to make our universities and training programs more accessible for everyone. I hope to finally create a fair and manageable immigration system. I know that we must work harder to find hope and cures for the mentally ill. I envision a day when nobody has to be homeless. I believe that we have the capacity to build a better and better future for those yet to come but it will not happen as long as we have a constant stream of naysayers shooting down the ideas that are presented just because there is a bit of risk and expense in trying them out. We have to be bold and willing to tackle the universe. Wishing upon a star is something a child does. Flying into the stars is the stuff of the builders of tomorrow.