It has been said many times to me that I live with my head in the clouds. My reply is always the same “Living with my head in the clouds has got me success thus far, so I’ll continue, but thank you for noticing.”
Why is it that we often bring the dreamers down? It runs throughout the whole of society, from our education system to the House of Lord’s Politics. Why are we scared to dream for things to be better, for education to allow creativity, for young people to speak out what they wish society would be for them?
In the Old Testament, we read of Joseph dreaming and even interpreting the Kings dreams. Whether or not you believe the story to be true (incidentally I do) or a myth or fable, it’s about a man daring to dream beyond the life he had. It’s about a man daring to suggest that the dreams of himself and of others meant something and could be interpreted into a reality. Because he dared to have his head in the clouds Joseph achieved great things (The Bible, Genesis 37). It didn’t come without it’s problems though. I’m not sure dreaming is always the easy option and it certainly wasn’t for Joseph who got kicked out of his home by his brothers and put into prison by the King, before his dreams came true.
Daring to be a dreamer means daring to see things that others either can’t see or sometimes even choose to not see. It means daring to step out and suggest a cause of action, a business idea, an aspiration that no one else has thought of, and that can sometimes take years to be realised. And when others haven’t seen or thought of it they are less likely to believe it possible.
My first and most important principle for my own staff and the young people and children we work with in my business is to ‘allow yourself to dream.’ I firmly believe that in today’s world with the brokenness, destruction and hatred we need to be able to search for our dreams, and dream of a better world and better way of living. If we can’t, what other hope do we have to hold on to. For those of you with a belief or a religion you may argue that your hope comes from somewhere else like God. But as a firm Christian, I also know that my dreaming is a very big part of my faith and the way I choose to live my life. It is because of what I believe in my faith that I allow myself to dream of reaching the goals that are set, and dreaming beyond what everyone else sees.
Who are we to stifle the dreams of others? Instead we should be asking ‘what are they seeing that I am missing that is causing them to see things differently?’ What is it about who they are that gives them hope to dare to think things could be changed. If we look in the history of the world the dreamers always turn out to be the incredible leaders and change makers; Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela…Just to name a few. These people were not scared to dream, they were open to seeing the change, first in themselves and then in the world they worked to change.
A lesson I teach our students very early on is that in order to change yourself, you have to believe you can change, you have to believe in a better you, hope for a better you, dream of a better you. Once you do this, things will begin to change. First in yourself and then in the world around you as you start to dream beyond yourself and dream for those around you. We are the change makers. Each individual one of us. But, before we can make the changes, we need to know what we don’t want and dream of what we do. Then we will see the change take place.
Who are we to say that someone shouldn’t dream for their life to get better, for the life of others to be better? Based on the current wars in our world today, and the destruction and inhumanity that we see regularly in the media around us, we need to dream of a better place, of a better life for ourselves and those across the world. We need to dream of change, of humanity coming back together to make the world a better place for our children and for those in deep suffering that some of us will never be able to truly understand.
Dreaming is important, but more than that it is vital to us doing better on stewarding this world. It’s vital for us to dream to have hope, to seek courage and to make changes in ourselves in order to be able to make changes in others around us.