This I Believe
I believe you should not stand in the way of others’ dreams. Dreams are important. Dreams make people happy. Dreams change the world. No matter where you are in life, no matter what you do, you are obligated to help and encourage others to follow their dreams, regardless of where this will take them, regardless of what effect it will have on you.
My wife is a world traveler. Every summer she flies off to other countries to learn, to live, to explore and to teach. She leaves me and our two Golden Retrievers at home in Central New York so she can scratch her itch for wandering. Recently, though, she has talked of more. She talks of leaving her teaching career of 14 years so she can help child-soldiers of Africa. She feels trapped in our comfortable middle-class existence. She longs to leave behind the standardized tests that cheapen her value. She loves her job and her students, but she dreams of tougher challenges. She hopes to contribute more to a world wracked by cruelty and misery.
But where does that leave me? I cannot abandon my dogs and go with her. But I believe I should not stand in the way of her dream. We will sell the house, find a small inexpensive apartment where I can keep my dogs, and in a few years, when the dogs are gone, I will join her, wherever she is, and I will help her in whatever she is doing. All people should be free. Free to do whatever they feel is right. Free to do whatever they feel can make this world a better place. No job, no parents, no siblings, no friends, no pets, and no marriage should stand in their way.
I believe you should not stand in the way of others’ dreams. I love my wife and I am very sad and lonely when she leaves. But it is precisely my love for her that makes me let her go. And so, I will not stand in her way. If and when she decides to go, I will support her. And, as I do every summer, I will dream of her returning safely to me.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.