for release January 3, 2003
by Melodie Davis
It Takes Work to Achieve Dreams
In the weeks before Christmas I watched part of a sweet little special called "Dear Santa" which focused on fulfilling the dreams of a variety of children who wrote their wishes to Santa Claus. One precocious eight-year-old in Arizona wished desperately for snow even though she knew it never snowed in Arizona.
Well somehow, some way, the producers of the show managed to ship about a tractor-trailer load of snow to the girl's front yard. Or maybe they set up a snowmaking machine for a while. The secrets involved in making the dreams come true were not revealed in the show, but she and all her friends enjoyed several hours of playing in the stuff: throwing snowballs, building a snowman, making snow angels, doing a little sliding. At one point the eight-year-old proclaimed, "This stuff is cold" leaving no doubt that it was the real stuff.
I was struck in watching the show that the dreams of the children took a tremendous amount of work on the part of someone to carry off. On the show of course it was passed off as "magic" or the work of Santa.
It reminded me of a great memory of my own, the year our family moved to northern Florida from northern Indiana. I was a senior in high school, my brother in 8th grade. My father had to travel back to northern Indiana on business over the Christmas holidays and while he was in Indiana there was a huge snowstorm. He loaded the back of his pick-up truck with snow to add weight for better traction while traveling on the snowy roads as he headed back to Florida.
Conditions were cold enough that he still had a decent pick-up load of snow when he got back, and it was his idea to take the remaining snow (which was mostly ice by this time) to the school grounds and make a snowman for the children at school to see the next day. Now, after traveling all that way, lots of Dads would have been too tired to help their kids make a snowman before the load of snow melted more, but that's what Dad did. The school yearbook from that year even featured the "ice man" in its pages, and the elementary children from school took "field trips" out to view the snowman.
Many of us entered this New Year with some dreams and wishes of our own regarding this new calendar year. Whatever your hopes and resolutions, these stories remind us that wishing alone fulfills no wishes: they take work. Hard work. And that is the difference between resolutions kept and resolutions broken. Are we willing to do the work?
Whether you resolved to lose weight, exercise more, have a quiet time of prayer or meditation, get out of credit card debt, be friendlier: all these take work and stick-to-itiveness. They don't happen by magic, or by producers on a TV show making it happen. They happen by our own sweat and muscle power.
* A young couple with three children under the age of five struggling to get ahead makes it by the sheer grit of getting up every day and going to work. The mother works at a daycare center so she can be around her children, and receive reduced rates on daycare.
* An older couple, down on their luck and both out of jobs, move to a new town and live in a cheap motel until they save up enough money for an apartment deposit. They both find part time jobs at least and then also taking on cleaning rooms at the motel in order to reduce their weekly rent there.
* An older woman who has pain with every step she takes walks up and down the long halls of the maternity floor at the hospital working as a nurse's aide, in order to keep income coming in.
* A 69-year-old-man is told he will never walk again, but through therapy, exercise and prayer, he refuses to take the doctor's word, and within three years he is getting around with a walker, and eventually with two canes. At 85, he is still getting around, even though not very well. He's the guy, of course, who made it possible for some Florida elementary school children to have a snowman at school one cold January day.
These (real) people all inspire me to keep plugging away at my dreams and goals. Think of someone you know who has accomplished - something, which is amazing to you. May his or her example inspire you, too.
Do you have an inspiring story to share? Send to: Melodie Davis, Another Way c/o Name\Address of YOUR newspaper; or e-mail: Melodie@mennomedia.org.
You can also visit Another Way on the Web at www.thirdway.com.
Melodie Davis is the author of seven books and has written her column since 1987. She taught feature writing and has won awards from the National Federation of Press Women, Virginia Press Women and the American Advertising Association. She and her husband have three daughters.
NOTES TO EDITORS: text = 780 words; end material = 105 words
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