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|Part I||A Parable for Parents|
|Part II||Seven Secrets for Raising a Dreamer|
|Secret #5||Make Use||85|
God created you for a higher purpose. This is the most important journey of your life, pursuing your God-given purpose. Bruce Wilkinson The Dream Giver
In the Land of Familiar, not far from here, lived Mom and Dad and their only son, Ordinary. He had become notorious in Familiar for daring to leave in search of what he called his Big Dream.
"We always knew there was something wrong with him," people would say when Ordinary's parents were out of earshot. But to their faces they said, "It must be ... interesting to have such a special child!"
Mom was having a hard time because of her son. On the day she first held little Ordinary in her arms, she said: "Ordie, my sweetie, Mommy promises to always keep you safe." Now she didn't even know where he was. The last time she had seen him, he was rowing in a small boat across the Wide Waters bordering the extreme ends of Familiar. Since then, she hadn't heard from him. He had said that he was on his way to some unknown Land of Promise. However, Mom had no peace of mind. What if this road led straight to the WasteLand-that desolate region about which one heard only the most horrid tales?
"To him itmight be a Dream," she would complain to Dad, "but to me it is one endless nightmare. And it's all your fault. Dreaming runs on your side of the family." She wasn't entirely mistaken. In his youth, Dad had had a Dream, too, but he had buried it so deeply that he could hardly remember what it was. He didn't have the courage to leave Familiar and embark on the dangerous quest for his Dream.
"The moment Ordie mentioned this Dream thing, you became excited," Mom had upbraided Dad when Ordinary announced he was leaving. "You could have talked him out of it. But no-o-o, you had to start dreaming along with him. At your age, it's just ridiculous!"
"If a parent can't dream along with his child," Dad had answered, "how will that child ever come to believe in his Dreams? I wish my dad had been enthusiastic about my Dreams."
Mom had snorted and set out after Ordinary to stop him. However, when she returned alone with the news that Ordinary was determined to pursue his Dream, she had changed her tune. "This Dream thing still is a bit of a mystery to me," she said. "But I do know now that my son had to get into that little boat and cross the Wide Waters. He just has to pursue his Dream."
Since then, Mom had been torn by conflicting emotions. She believed her Ordie had done the right thing, but she was haunted by the fact that her son was out there in the Unknown. When others in Familiar implied that Ordinary had lost his mind, she jumped to his defense. But in quiet moments, she regretted that Ordinary had ever become involved in Dreams.
"I would have refused to let him go," said her best friend, Mollycoddle Mom. "If my child had entertained any such notion, I would have stopped her, even if I had to scream or cry or fake a heart attack. No daughter of mine is leaving Familiar. It's pure madness!"
Mom tried to change the subject. "And how is Little Molly? Is she still polishing teaspoons for Familiar Kitchenware? Or is it forks?" But as soon as Mollycoddle Mom left, she threw herself on the bed, crying over Ordinary.
* * *
That's where Dad found Mom when he arrived home from his Usual Job. He sat down beside her on the bed and put his arms around her.
"I don't get this Dream thing!" Mom sobbed. "Explain it to me-after all, you were afflicted by Dreams when you were young, weren't you?"
Dad was quiet for a moment. Then he replied, "I think you also have a Dream."
"Me? Whatever gave you that idea? I am an ordinary, respectable citizen of Familiar. You won't catch me getting into little boats, rowing off while my poor mother stands crying on the shore!"
But Dad wouldn't be put off that easily. "Just think," he said. "What made you set out after Ordinary to try and stop him?"
"I wanted to be a good mother," Mom murmured. "I'm concerned about my child's safety."
"Exactly!" Dad said. "That's a Dream, too, you know. We are living our Dreams when we become what we were born to be-when we're able to say, 'I am happy when I'm like this.' Tell me, have you ever found a long white feather?"
Mom sat bolt upright. "Why?"
"Well, when I discovered my Dream as a young man, I found such a white feather. But as time passed and I didn't do anything about it, my feather turned to dust. Ordinary also found a feather along with his Dream, but he used his for keeping his Dream Journal ... because he had discovered that he had no choice but to pursue his Dream. The white feather is a sign that you did not invent your Dream yourself-that it comes from the Dream Giver."
"I did find a white feather-on the day Ordinary was born," Mom mused. "I've never understood what it meant. You know, I've never paid much attention to this Dream Giver talk. Yet I kept the feather. It should be somewhere in one of Ordie's albums."
She jumped up to go look for it. And there it was-slightly discolored and tattered-still lying between the pages of the album. She took it out and gently stroked the photos of little Ordinary. "I used to tickle him with this when he was little," she remembered.
"Then his dreaming streak is your fault." Dad said, laughing. "I should have guessed!"
"But this doesn't make sense. My Dream definitely is to be a good mother and keep Ordie safe. But his Dream is to set out and expose himself to who knows what kinds of danger. Our Dreams are mutually exclusive!"
"Perhaps you don't really understand your Dream," Dad said. "It is about being a good mother to Ordinary, that's clear. And when he was young, this meant cuddling him and looking out for his safety. But as he grew up, your Dream should have grown with him."
"Are you saying that my Dream of keeping him safe was not big enough for him?" asked Mom.
"No, not big enough for you!" answered Dad excitedly. "Yes, I see it now: When you allowed Ordinary to row away from you in pursuit of his Dream, you were actually fulfilling your Dream, too. You were still being a good mother. It's just that your Dream had grown bigger. It's a much bigger Dream to let your children go than to cling to them. That's a Dream big enough for a woman like you!"
"But if that's true, why am I suffering so much?" Mom wondered.
"Because nothing worthwhile comes easy. A Dream that comes true too easily doesn't really bring any meaning into a person's life. Dreaming of keeping your children dependent is not worth much. But dreaming of sending them out into the world to pursue their Dreams? That's a Big Dream in itself!"
"Now don't you start preaching at me," laughed Mom. "I've decided to use this white feather for writing about my Dream and about Ordinary and how hard it is not knowing where he is."
Suddenly, the feather in her hands was transformed-it became pure white and brand new, as if she had just received it.
* * *
"Looking back," Mom wrote with the white feather in her new Dream Journal, "I realize that Ordinary has always been on his way to Big Things. I remember him building a whole city in the mud in our garden when he was very small."
"'Look, Mom,' he said, 'it's a place where everyone can live well, a much better place than the Land of Familiar.' And I joined him in all this! It never occurred to me that I was sharing his Dream. Perhaps that's a good thing ..."
She was remembering how Mollycoddle Mom used to remark disapprovingly, "No child of mine will ever play in the mud like that-" when there was a knock at the door. It was Mollycoddle Mom, her face red with crying.
"I just don't know what to do anymore," she sobbed as she collapsed onto Dad's recliner. "Little Molly won't eat. She doesn't want to go anywhere or do anything. She says she hates her life; she just wants to curl up and die."
Mollycoddle Mom blew her nose. "I tried to comfort her, reminding her of her comfortable job. But then she burst out that if she never saw another knife in her life, it wouldn't be too soon."
It was knives she polished, Mom remembered then. Little Molly was Assistant Knife Polisher. But now she seemed to have become dissatisfied.
"And you know Difficult Dad." Mollycoddle Mom burst into tears again. "All my life I have had to protect Little Molly from him. He says the child needs a firm hand and that he'll cut her off if she doesn't stop her nonsense. So I thought I might have a talk with you because you have a problem child, too, and you ..."
"He's no problem child," Mom snapped back. "I have a Dreamer child, and I have come to understand only lately that following one's Dream is actually what we all should be doing. Perhaps that is Little Molly's problem-she doesn't like what she's doing. Have you ever tried talking to her about what she would like to do? Maybe that job Difficult Dad arranged for her doesn't suit her. If she could do what she loves, she might get a taste for life again. Perhaps she has a Dream of her own?"
"I don't think it's anything that serious," Mollycoddle Mom said anxiously. "And what's the point of asking her what she wants to do? For goodness' sake, we're her parents. If we don't know what's best for her, then who does? Polishing knives is honest work."
Mom suddenly had an idea. "Would you like to read this?" She held up her Dream Journal. "I actually didn't intend for anyone to read it, but perhaps it will help you." She pressed the Journal into Mollycoddle Mom's hands. No one spoke for quite a while as she sat reading. At last, Mollycoddle Mom broke the silence.
"I think I know what I have to do. I'll have to have a talk with Little Molly about what she really wants. Just like you, I want to be a good mother, but I don't always know how."
"You'll learn along the way," Mom assured her. "That's what we all have to do."
* * *
The following afternoon, Mom was writing in her Dream Journal when Mollycoddle Mom appeared once more at the front door. This time Little Molly was with her.
"So much for Dreams!" Mollycoddle Mom burst out. "Do you know what the child wants to do? She wants to draw."
"You don't understand! She doesn't want to draw useful things, like new designs for knives. She wants to draw ... other people's Dreams. She has a white feather, just like yours and Ordinary's, and she thinks she could help people understand their Dream if she talked to them about it and then drew it for them. She thinks if people had a clear picture of their Dreams, they would be more successful at living them."
"Sounds like a wonderful Dream to me!" Mom smiled. Little Molly shyly drew closer to her.
"But there is no work in the Land of Familiar for Dream Draftsmen!" sobbed Mollycoddle Mom. "She'll never make a living! And what will Difficult Dad say? He hates 'silly pictures' and hates Dreams, and now his daughter wants to follow a career in both!"
"Little Molly is a big girl," Mom said, although the tearful girl next to her didn't look it just then. "She can decide for herself. If she wants to be a Dream Draftsman, we have to help her."
"I know of a Dream Draftsman who lives here," Little Molly offered timidly. "Perhaps I could go see him ..."
"I'll take you there ..." said Mom.
"I'm coming with you. We will see ..." said Mollycoddle Mom.
* * *
The Dream Draftsman lived on a small street in a poorer part of Familiar. His little house was filled with pictures.
"How did you think up all of this?" asked Mollycoddle Mom, stunned.
"I don't think up anything," explained the Dream Draftsman. "Dreams are created by the Dream Giver, who puts them into the right people's hearts. He gave me the gift of helping people see what Dreams He has for them. They understand their Dreams better if they have a picture of what they look like."
He looked at Mom. "You're Ordinary's mother, aren't you?" He rummaged around and took out a few pictures. "Ordinary asked me to draw his Dream before he went away. He left this one here because he hoped you or his father would one day like to see it."
The first picture was of little Ordie just as she remembered him-in the mud, his Dream City in front of him. Mom was speechless.
"I drew two more after Ordinary left. I don't understand why the Dream Giver had me draw these, too, but perhaps it was because you will need them." The second picture shocked Mom. It showed Ordinary walking around a rundown city, surrounded by thin, hungry-looking children.
"Yuck," said Mollycoddle Mom. "Doesn't look like much of a Dream Picture to me."
"But see how happy he looks?" exclaimed Little Molly. "As if he's exactly where he needs to be! This is the most beautiful picture I've ever seen."
Mom took another look. It was true. She had never seen Ordinary looking so happy. Then she saw the third picture. Ordinary was standing on the wall of a beautiful city. Around him smiling children were playing. "This is possible," explained the Dream Draftsman, "if Ordinary follows his Dream."
"I wish I could draw like that," said Little Molly.
The Dream Draftsman gave her a long look. Then he said, "You will." He turned to Mollycoddle Mom. "And ... you will too."
Mollycoddle Mom blushed flaming red. "I did dream a bit, a long time ago, but ..."
"Mother!" accused Little Molly with a laugh. "You never said a thing!"
The two began talking excitedly to the Dream Draftsman. Mom stood there, hugging Ordinary's three Dream Pictures. Nobody noticed her leave and take the pictures with her.
* * *
Back home, Mom put the Dream Pictures away with the white feather and her Dream Journal. Then she heard the front door open. She walked quickly to the door. It was Dad, and he had a stranger with him. The man was emaciated and looked sickly. His eyes were dull and his hands shook.
Dad put an arm around Mom's shoulders. "Darling," he said, "this is Turnabout. I am afraid he has some very bad news for us."
"Ordinary?" asked Mom.
Turnabout nodded, but did not look her in the eye.
"He can't be dead, I know he isn't dead!" cried Mom. "I would have known ..."
"When I saw him last in the WasteLand," murmured Turnabout, "he was thin, and his clothing was ragged, but he was alive."
"The WasteLand?" cried Mom. "But he was heading for the Land of Promise!"
"The Land of Promise?" Turnabout laughed gruffly.
Excerpted from The Dream Giver for Parents by Bruce Wilkinson Darlene Marie Wilkinson Andries Cilliers Copyright © 2004 by Exponential, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
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Posted January 14, 2011
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