I know I can be kind of a downer when it comes to inspirational speeches (or the lack thereof). I love you and I think you’re amazing, but I don’t actually think you can be whatever you want to be. I think you have special gifts and a unique calling and you can be whatever God wants you to be, but I’m not going to give you the “Follow your dreams” nonsense. Sometimes dreams have to die to make way for a better reality. I once dreamed I’d go to Broadway because I thought that’s what happened to the girl who played “Marian The Librarian” in her high school musical. Turns out, I can’t dance, I don’t really like performing and I don’t want to live in a big city. And come to think of it, I’m pretty sure I got the lead not because I was exceptionally talented, but because the director knew I was a hard worker and would show up to rehearsals with my lines memorized. Let that be a lesson to you– what you lack in talent, you can usually make up for in hard work.
So no, I am not and will never be on Broadway although that was once my dream. It was a dumb dream for me (although it could be precisely the way God chooses to use someone else to change the world) and I like being your mom way more than I would have liked that life. But just because I don’t think you can be whatever you want to be and I may not encourage you to follow your dreams doesn’t mean I don’t want big things for your life. I believe you can do the biggest thing out there.
I believe you can change the world.
There are people out there who see problems in the world and they feel sad and they say, “We live in a broken world.” and go on about their day. I’ve never been able to be that kind of person. When I see those problems, I want to find a solution. When I find a solution, I want to communicate that to people who can help. I have come to learn that some problems are just one caring, powerful person away from being solved.
This means sometimes I’ve written a Letter to the Editor or two (or five). Sometimes I’ve called lawyers and advocacy groups. I’ve gone to public hearings about issues that matter to me. I’ve contacted the directors of agencies that needed to hear how agency philosophy was being translated into practical policies. I’ve testified at committee meetings for bills that were close to my heart. I’ve worked with state senators to help them get a “boots on the ground” perspective. I’ve bothered principals and school board members. And one time I took a foster toddler to meet with a state senator because sometimes senators need to be reminded about the very real consequences of their decisions.