Friday, June 25, 2010

Do It

Keep true to the dreams of thy youth.

Friedrich Schiller
The other day I was watching the NASA TV channel and they were showing the induction of 4 new members into the Astronauts Hall Of Fame. One of them was Guy Bluford, the first African/American astronaut to travel into space. In Mr. Bluford's acceptance speech he gave a brief autobiography which went through his boyhood into his education and finally his career as an astronaut. Several times in his speech he used the phrase "chase the dream." He mentioned the problems he had to overcome but he also mentioned the people who encouraged him, from his family, his teachers and colleagues. All along the way he "chased the dream."

Growing up I never really understood what the "norm" was, but whenever I did, said or wanted something that wasn't the norm I got scorn and discouragement.

As a youngster I was very interested in outer space. I knew as much as I could about the solar system, I knew about the planets and their moons. I have written often about my elementary school science teacher who scornfully told me that man could never go to the moon or even travel out of the earth's atmosphere. He was the authority figure so I accepted that for a while. I might have been encouraged to study science and engineering and, who knows, to be one of the early astronauts. But I wasn't. I tried to write a story about space travel. My brother found it, showed to my sister and they both laughed at me.

I'm still interested in science. I have books on the various subjects and I enjoy reading them. One day I was reading a book on mathematics when another actor walked passed and laughed at me. He thought I was faking it to make a good impression.

I wanted to be a composer of great music. One day I was describing my reaction to a piece of music for mother and she said she always thought there was something not quite right about me. I wasn't normal. When I got to junior high school there was musical training available. I was told that I had to pick an instrument to play, so I chose the violin, violinists get to play everything. I spent a lot of years and money trying to learn the violin, but I had no ability at it. Years later I found out that I could probably have been an good clarinetist or other wind player, if I had had the chance to try it. I learned to play a tenor recorder in 15 minutes. I used to have one but it got lost in one of my vagabond moves. I hope whoever has it is making music.

So I went into show business. That seemed to be the norm since both my mother and grandmother had been actresses. My mother used to proclaim that she wanted to see my name up in lights on Broadway, but she never did a thing to help. In fact the few times she saw me perform she told me why it was no good. My brother started out as an actor but soon quit and went into advertising where he produced TV commercials. He could have hired me to do a commercial very easily, he never did. My sister started out as a singer, but quit to become a nurse. They both discouraged me from trying to make a life as an actor.

I could mention many other times and ways in which people tried to discourage me out of whatever dream I had. But the point of this entry is to say if you have young people in your life give them the freedom, the endorsement and the reassurance to persue their positive goals and if you are a young person reading this at whatever age you are "chase the dream."

DB - The Vagabond
(This is not a contest.)

Who are the 2 (two) most important people alive today? Why?

4 responses so far.

Thank you.


Valerie said...

This is so important. I, too, was discouraged to follow dreams. I still am. I affects me deeply. Thanks for this. I hope you can find a tenor recorder someday and play again. Val xox

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Indeed, if we stop chasing our dreams, then what else do we have, Taxes?