“Dreams are the touchstones of our character.” — Henry David Thoreau
“Imagination has no age and dreams are forever.” — Walt Disney Company
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” — Albert Einstein
“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” — Gloria Steinem
A few months ago, I attended a high school graduation in which the principal concluded the ceremony shouting out to the 2019 graduates, “DREAM BIG!”
A few weeks ago, I read Zachery Roman’s article, “How I’m Encouraging My Kids to Dream Big and Aim High.” He writes:
“Take time to ask your child about his or her dreams and see if there are ways you can help your child achieve them. Let your child know that no dream is too big or small to accomplish, but it will take hard work, dedication, and a determination to ‘leave no stone unturned’.”
I also read Scott Jeffrey’s article, “How To Use Your Imagination,” in which he describes a method for producing creative work designed by the Disney organization.
“The Disney group differentiate three roles necessary for generating creative ideas and actualizing them: the Dreamer, the Realist, and the Critic. The Dreamer accesses the unconscious by allowing the mind to wander without bounds. Daydreaming isn’t just allowed; it’s encouraged. The Realist accesses the conscious mind that organizes ideas, develops plans, and sets forth strategies for execution. The Critic tests the plan, plays the role of Devil’s Advocate, and looks out for what could go wrong.”
DIP—Dreams, Imagination, and Planning—are about character. To do something with one’s dreams, with one’s imagination, requires having such character strengths as curiosity, open-mindedness, creativity, persistence, and grit. All necessary skills for “planning.”
Dreams, in other words, are “aspirations” defined as a “strongly desired goals or objectives.” Writes Julie Connor: “Passion fuels dreams. Commitment fuels action. Get clear about what you want to do and why you want to do it. Take action.”
As you know, psychologist Angela L. Duckworth’s research reveals that “grit and self-control” can predict students’ likelihood of performing well academically, graduating from high school, and going on to college” [three Big Dreams].
A recent discovery for me had to do with the relationship between dreams and imagination.
“Imagination can take you everywhere from anywhere. Everything you see around was once an imagination of someone. Without imagination this world would come to still and there won’t be any new inventions. Dreamers change the reality and bring the new way of doing monotonous work. They make people’s lives easy with their craft. These imagination quotes will give new dimensions to your creativity. Be curious, be hungry.” https://www.overallmotivation.com/
Interestingly, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the United Engineering Foundation offer a program called “Every Child Should Dream Big.” These two groups have a campaign to place Dream Big [Imagination] educational toolkits [Planning] in every U.S. public school, plus many private schools, and schools around the world in countries including Canada, Jamaica, Saudi Arabia, and Madagascar! www.discovere.org/dreambig.
In CERC’s July issue of News You Can Use, we began with our usual “Using Quotes in the Classroom” with the topic “Dream A Little – A Lesson.”
I leave it to you to decide why and how you might encourage your students, early in this new school year, to DREAM BIG, be IMAGINATIVE, and PLAN carefully.
Perhaps you could start with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, “I Have a Dream” speech from August 28, 1963. He offers eight “I have a dream” statements; your class discussion might begin with:
“I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Ed DeRoche, Director, Character Education Resource Center, SOLES