This I Believe

John - Houston, Texas
Entered on December 17, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I’m a dreamer. When I was younger, before I was old enough to start school, I would sit quietly for long stretches of time and just let my mind wander. Without even being aware of it, I would travel to another world. The real world and my dream world did not have a sharply defined boundary between them.

Whenever I am lost in my dreams, I feel calmly at peace. I understand this state of mind now in a way I couldn’t when I was young. As a child, I was never lonely. The world of my imagination always welcomed me. No rules or responsibilities limited my thoughts, so I could jump off a cliff and, instead of falling, I could fly. I was not afraid. I was always safe. My dream world is what I imagine heaven to be like.

When I grew older, dreaming started to give me trouble. At school, I would drift off and not pay attention to my work. In second grade my desk sat next to a window, so I spent most of my day staring outside. My teacher told me that I needed to focus, that I would not succeed at my studies if I daydreamed during class. A few of the other students made fun of me, so I started to think I was stupid. Since my teachers wanted me to stop daydreaming, obviously something was wrong with me.

Later that year my mother took me to a child psychiatrist who gave me several tests to complete. I was diagnosed with ADHD, inattentive subset, and auditory processing disorder. Now I have to take medicine to pay attention in school. It helps, but I still find myself drifting into other thoughts, other places. I struggle to concentrate when I am reading. I need extra time to finish my homework and exams. It would be easy to become discouraged. However, I hold onto my dreams because I believe a dreamer like me has a special path to follow. Maybe one day I’ll be like Captain Kirk and “go where no man has gone before.” You never know.

My doctor once told me that being different does not mean being worse. He said that dreamers are the ones who end up changing the world; they look at life in a completely unique way. George Bernard Shaw expressed this truth when he wrote, “Some men see things and say why…, I dream things and say why not.” Why should I ever be embarrassed about being a dreamer? Leonardo da Vinci had dreams. Albert Einstein had dreams. Martin Luther King had a dream, too.

I have a favorite prayer which says, “Disturb us, Lord,…to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas…, where losing sight of land, we shall find stars.” I believe in my dreams, and I know that if I pursue them, if I find the courage to lose sight of land, then someday with God’s help, I will find stars.