Veronica Hendrix

*There have been songs sung about it.

Immortal speeches have been delivered about its promise and enduring mystery.

And perennial prose has exclaimed its illusiveness.

Some have dared to do it. Others have dabbled in its endless possibilities.

What am I talking about? I am talking about the power of dreaming.

There are countless individuals which have preceded me, who dared to dream magnanimously.  Many of their dreams were formidable, incomprehensible, unfathomable, and absolutely phenomenal.  Yet many of them have closed their earthly eyes and in their hearts, imagined the impossible — anyway.

Those in bondage dreamed of living as free human beings.

Those that were daunted by hate and malevolence dreamed of casting an indomitable vote.

Those that were disenfranchised, despised and dismissed dreamed of living a consummated life.

Their act of dreaming ignited a wave of change that imbued hope in the blatant face of hopelessness. And the changes that followed transformed the fabric of our lives, and the landscape our nation.

My dreams were copious and variegated as a child.  I used to dream about being a distinguished network correspondent like Carole Simpson. I often dreamed of being an independent and spirited woman like Marlo Thomas of the sitcom “That Girl.  And just like every starry-eyed adolescent girl during my era, my dreams were permeated with images of falling in love, getting married, raising children and making my parents deliriously proud of me.

As an adult, I still dream. Many of my dreams have come true through faith, dogged determination and focused resolve. For this I am extremely grateful.

Some of my dreams have been painfully deferred, while others remain disappointedly derailed. However, I have not lost hope.

I will never stop dreaming. I will never lose the wonder of imagining what could be when a dream gestates, grows and gives birth to incredible realities.

Do you still dream?

I bet you do.

If you grew up when I did, the stark realities and harshness of life provoked us to dream, and to dream big. And you were probably inspired to dream by the wealth of  examples all around us who not only had dreams of coalescing in a world that was just and humane, but who spoke resoundingly about their dreams, then went about the business of making them come true.

Today’s generation doesn’t dream as we did. It seems the wonder of dreaming has lost its edge in their hearts and in their minds.

Maybe it’s because we have given them too much material stuff in a misguided attempt to assuage the sense of lack we experienced while growing up.   Or maybe, while we were busy pursing our dreams of grandeur, we failed to realize that they weren’t inspired to dream because we robbed them of that desire,  by making many of their immediate dreams come true.

Innocently, inadvertently, and progressively, maybe what we did was extinguish the fire in their bellies that ignites the desire to dream, and the motivation to purse them.

I’ve had to come to terms with the evidence that this generation doesn’t seem to have the same provocation to dream. I hear it from my friends and colleagues, and I’ve had some first hand experience with it too with my own brood.

I don’t like it. That’s why I’m writing about it because I am frustrated and annoyed.

To me, this generation of young folk appears too content with what they have been given or spoon feed. They don’t hunger and thirst for more than what is in the moment.  And when they squander the opportunities, access, and resources they’ve been given (without much lamentation if any), it’s because they find it difficult to reverence something they never achieved through personal sacrifice, sweat equity and sleepless nights.

We can blame it on the media, the hip hop culture or whatever. They have lost the wonder of dreaming because we haven’t done the best job in provoking them to dream. And provoking them to dream requires that we give them less – despite our own personal success — so they will want more, and go after it.

Dreaming is a powerful human experience no one should be robbed of. It ignites life. It spawns hope. It evokes ingenuity. And it propels progress.

When a generation loses the wonder of dreaming, hope dies; ingenuity is suffocated; progress is halted, and life decays. One of the best investments we can make in the lives of this generation — which literally costs us nothing — is to invest our time and energy in provoking, as well as inspiring, them to dream.

(If you have comments about Veronica’s View, email them to [email protected].)