Graduates: Avoid dream killers, believe in yourself

Posted: Friday, June 03, 2005

When I graduated from high school, the commencement speaker predicted our children and grandchildren would go on dates to the moon and stars in spaceships. His Star Trek dream was off the beam, but give him credit for dreaming.

Some go through life expecting the least and aren't surprised when they receive it. Often these dreamless ones once had high hopes but were shot down by dream destroyers- people who underestimated their potential and undermined their faith.

They accepted the predictions of pessimists when rejecting them would have preserved their hopes for the future.

Christian Powell had longed to become an attorney. He had set this ambitious goal early in life but was then afflicted by two dreaded diseases: tuberculosis and polio.

Both diseases hospitalized him for long periods of time and the latter paralyzed most of the major muscles in the lower part of his body.

When he was discharged from the hospital after his bout with polio at the age of 19, there seemed little hope that he could catch up academically or even go to college, let alone tackle the rigorous and expensive course leading to a law degree. Many thought his plan was a pipedream.

But Powell wouldn't concede to the dream destroyers. Spending many hours each day building up his body and studying he kept pressing toward his goal.

One year later, he enrolled in a special college prep course that allowed him to get his high school diploma and 10 years later he walked across a graduation platform to receive his law degree.

By that time he was married, the father of four sons and already successful in the field of accounting.

Within a few years after receiving his law degree, Powell had become the managing partner in a growing law firm, was active politically and a successful land developer.

Then something happened that added a new dimension to Powell's life. Workers in one of his political campaigns invited him to a Thanksgiving dinner at their church.

Accepting that invitation brought Powell to faith and introduced him to blessings beyond his wildest dreams. Today, one of Powell's sons is the pastor of that church.

Some dream destroyers are negative people who specialize in low expectations and others are substances that sabotage success. Alcohol and other drugs destroy vision and motivation.

Those who choose to inhale, ingest or inject confidence, elation and peace find these fake feelings poor substitutes for the satisfaction that comes from accomplishments.

Solomon said those who expect alcohol to solve their problems and fulfill their dreams are deceiving themselves, Proverbs 20:1.

While a student at the Moody Bible Institute, I once accompanied a ministry team that invaded Chicago's skid row. There I met a man who had been a successful dentist.

Now he had lost his home, his family, his professional standing in the community and all that had once been important to him. Alcohol, his dream destroyer of choice, had wiped him out. All he had left was his bottle.

Graduates who treasure their dreams will want to avoid the dream destroyers, wisely accepting the counsel and companionship of people who will make their faith stronger and the future brighter every day.

Roger Campbell is an author, radio broadcaster and newspaper columnist from Waterford, Mich.

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