Waiting on the World to Change


It may be that those who do most, dream most.
~ Stephen Leacock


“What is the most important thing I can do for my children to help them succeed?” This is the question I most often hear when asked about parenting and child development. My answer? “Dare them to dream for themselves, and encourage them to pursue what they love!”

My daughters dreamed. They are now 28 and 25 years old. They are raised. Wow! That felt good to say! “They are raised!” It sounds so final. I am proud of them and of their accomplishments, and I am honored by how well they turned out. They are following their dreams.

But what of the rest of their generation—the generation that will shape and form my grandchildren? Recently, I’ve been researching this topic, and I have discovered an entire generation of young adults who do not dream.  Totally engrossed in altered reality, they have lost touch with the possibilities of dreams, aspirations, love, and life.

A few months ago, I sat down with some young high school seniors and asked each of them what she or he was going to do with their lives. My heart began to ache as one by one, they repeated the same mantra: “Uh…I don’t know…uh…”

Seriously?! You’ve never thought about what you would like to do when you get out of high school? “Uh…not really…”

How does this happen? How do we start with completely competent children and end with young adults like this?  Their 12-year educational journey has prepared them for standardized tests and SAT scores, but has left them with no clue as to where to go from here! But wait… don’t blame the schools. This is a cultural issue.

Where are their parents? Where are their mentors? Who will strike a fire inside of their hearts that will move them toward greatness? Who will define this generation?
They have knowledge. They are intelligent. What they need are dreams—dreams that bypasses their brain and ignite passion in their souls.

If we continue to look the other way, our world will comprise active adults who simply exist, with no meaningful purpose in life, whose only motive for getting up in the morning is to find something to eat. Cave men did that.

We live in a critical era. Our world as we know it is like an emergent  society  set  on  auto  pilot  by  technological  drones.  Our children are like text zombies. Their only ability to communicate is limited to the number of clicks they have to complete a tweet.

Though I disagree with his moral choices, John Mayer is a gifted song writer. I am deeply impressed with the sincerity with which he describes a generation confused in “Waiting on the World to Change.” When he wrote the song, he explains, he was trying to express the feeling of helplessness that comes with knowing what needs to change, while also realizing the futility of trying to change it.

The resounding follow-up question is this: How do we do that? How do we awaken dreams in the heart of our children? Begin today. Stop waiting on the world to change—get up and change it! Speak dreams into the heart of your children. Say things like this:

“I can’t wait to see what God has planned for your life!”

“You are so creative—you’re going to create beautiful things that will bless others.”

“You are so strong willed—I just know you will be a leader and not a follower.”

“You will change your world!”