My Own Neverland
My dreams bounced around a lot when I was a kid. For a while, I wanted to be a Lost Boy in Neverland, fight pirates, never get old, and maybe even take over as the new Pan when Peter got tired of it. When I learned that this was impossible, (for Peter would never quit), I moved on to my backup plan, being a professional baseball player.
Strangely, my fantasies did not include simply hitting the home run and winning the World Series, but also the interviews I would give as MVP. Who would I thank? What would I credit for my success? What other opportunities might I have to speak and have thousands of people listening to me, giving my words some weight of credibility because I hit .321 and stole 31 bases?
Well, I worked my way slowly through a great many dreams, having each of them beat out of me by reality, but they all had something in common. I wanted, more than anything, to be an effective person; I wanted to have an impact on the world. How I achieved the influence wasn’t as important to me as what I would do once I got it.
I guess it follows that, like so many others with only a nondescript idea about the future, I found myself in college, pursuing a Liberal Arts degree.
It was here that I was supposed to give up all of my unrealistic dreams and pursue a career that would provide a steady income and ground me in the real world. Unfortunately, three of my four roommates were musicians. I never had a chance. I picked up a guitar, and was ruined for real life.
Here it was, my chance to communicate with the whole world, my chance to make a mark! I would write and record songs that would touch people’s hearts and change people’s lives, and I would finally have what I have always wanted: a voice!
Sadly, my voice wasn’t that great to listen to, and writing songs to change people’s lives proved harder than one would think. Even so, in music, I’d found a friend that would never forsake me, a dream that could never be beaten out of me, my real-life Neverland.
I graduated from college, and found a job as a teacher. I love my work, and it is more rewarding and satisfying than I could have imagined. But it’s possible that more important than anything in the curriculum, I need to teach these kids how to dream; I am a master, after all.
I believe that dreaming is important not simply to achieve the thing dreamed, but for the steps taken in the pursuit. I still dream of a music career, and I am working for it.
But I know that I am a better person for all my dreaming; it has made me who I am, and will continue to build who I am to become, even if I will never be the new Pan.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.