I heard someone use the term “dream maker” the other day, as in: everyone needs a dream maker. It immediately resonated with me and, of course, I agreed completely. We all need a dream maker, a champion, a partner-in-crime…
To me, a dream maker is someone who helps me see beyond the physical and non-physical obstacles that come between idea and actualization, between a seed of belief and full-on faith, between “this could be” to “this will be..and here’s how.” I thought about the dream makers I’ve encountered in my life–family, teachers, friends, bosses, colleagues–and I have a list of about five so I am fortunate that each one taught me something different adding to the tapestry of actualization, faith, this will be and how… But the biggest piece, the final piece (and–for me at least–the hardest) is more ongoing: knowing my value.
Dreams are so precious, they must be cared for, nurtured, fed, respected for their texture, difference, obscurity and even, in some cases, their conformity lest they be squashed and the dreamer along with it. Dreams and ideas are living and breathing organisms, deny them the most basic resources and they will die on the vine and the world will be a different place…one dream, one idea, one dreamer at a time.
BY LANGSTON HUGHES
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
Later the same day I had the conversation about dream makers, I was riding the subway going home–to Harlem, coincidentally–and a young boy, probably 12 or 13 got on my car. He started by shouting: Is everybody ready for a show?!?! As a New Yorker, nobody at rush hour in a crowded car is ready for a show. Ever. He said he wasn’t hungry, but was looking to get money for a set of drums and was going show us why he should have them…
And then this kid started off beating two empty, plastic tubs (not uncommon), using the metal poll as a high-hat (kinda cool), and showed a unique sense of showmanship that was captivating. When he was done I was clapping (I wasn’t the only one) and gave up my seat to give the kid a folded bill. As I did I felt compelled to say to him: “don’t quit, keep playing.”
He replied: “yes ma’am.”
Do I think my folded bill and words will have an impact on that kid? Not necessarily. But HE had an impact on ME. We all have creative wells, artistic souls to feed and the only way I know to do that is to try to do my part–big or small–for other creative spirits. Sometimes the opportunity is easy to spot–like this musician–but everyone can be creative–has the natural instinct to be creative, even. There are ways to solve problems creatively, ways to approach life creatively and that’s an opportunity to fill the well–when we support each other in those moments and validate those instincts–so it will never run dry.