Making Dreams Come True
It's great to have a dream, but the real accomplishment is making our dreams into realities. In this week's Torah portion (Num. 8:4), concerning the great golden menorah-candelabra in the Tabernacle, we learn that Moses first had a vision of it and then worked to carry out that vision until it was completed. So, too, we will gain a lot of satisfaction if put in the work needed to make our dreams come true.
In our story, a kid finds out there's more to making dreams come true than he dreamed.
The last day of the semester was over and spring break had begun. While most of the kids poured out of the building buzzing with excitement over the coming vacation, Paul and Jerry walked with their heads down.
"I so much want to make the basketball team for next semester!" Paul said sadly.
"Yeah, me too!" Jerry nodded his head. "It's my dream."
"Both our dreams, you mean," Paul said. "But I guess it isn't Coach Johnson's dream, 'cuz he said 'no way'."
"Well, he didn't exactly say that," Jerry corrected. "He said at this point we weren't up to par, but he'd be giving another try-out after spring break."
"Right. I guess there's always hope."
The next day Paul was lying on his bed listening to some music when the phone rang:
"Hey, it's me, Jerry. Let's go out and practice."
"Practice what?" Paul asked, confused.
"Practice rocket science! Come on, what do you think I mean? Let's go practice hoops so we'll be ready for the next try-out."
"Oh ... great idea," Paul nodded into the phone, trying to keep his earphones from slipping out. "I haven't been able to stop dreaming about making the team since I've been home. But ... today's not so great for me," he stifled a yawn, "I'm kinda ... busy, y'know?"
"All right. I guess I'll go myself," Jerry said, hanging up.
Each day after that, Paul would get an identical phone call and invitation from Jerry ...one day to go jogging to build stamina ...one day to go to the gym to build strength... But each day, Paul just seemed to have a perfect reason why 'today' was not the day and that his friend should go alone. No amount of convincing or cajoling on Jerry's part could change his mind.
The vacation passed quickly, as all vacations do, and sure enough, the coach had posted a notice for second try-outs on the gym wall.
"Okay, time for dreams to come true!" Paul smiled at Jerry - who for some reason looked more built up and in better shape than he had when he'd last seen him - as they walked through the locker room door.
The next day, the try-out results were posted. Jerry was on his way to go check them out when he ran into Paul coming from the other direction.
"Congratulations!" he said, giving him a hard slap on the back, wearing a painful looking smile on his face. "You made the team, Jerry!"
Jerry's eyes lit up.
"But ... I didn't," Paul went on, stammering.
"Gee, I'm sorry," Jerry said.
"What can you do?" Paul said, throwing up his hands philosophically. "Some people are just destined to have their dreams come true and some people just aren't, right?"
Jerry didn't say anything.
Paul looked at him and went on. "I ... guess I mean there are some people who make their dreams come true - maybe next time I will, too."
Q. How did Jerry feel when he heard he'd have another chance to make the team?
A. He was excited and was willing to put in the effort to help make that happen.
Q. How did Paul feel?
A. Although he was also happy about it, he wasn't willing to put in the work.
Q. What life lesson do you think someone could learn from this story?
A. Everyone has big dreams. Why do some people's happen and others' not? One reason is that it's not enough to dream - we have to be willing to put in the legwork to get there.
Q. Why do you think Jerry made the team and Paul didn't?
A. Jerry took his dream and helped make it a reality by practicing hard and working out before the try-out. Paul took the easy way out and in the end was left flat.
Ages 10 and Up
Q. Do you think there are concrete stages between a 'dream' and a 'reality'? What might they be?
A. Our sages teach that it is in general a four-stage process. The first stage is the dream itself - the will. Then there is the second stage of thinking through a plan to get there. The third stage is often speaking out our thoughts on the plan to make them clearer and, finally, the fourth stage is putting our plan into action until it becomes a reality.
Q. Is it okay just to 'dream' without ever trying to make it a reality?
A. There is nothing wrong per-se, but it is so much more satisfying to try our best to make our dreams come true.