I love the American Dream. Thinking how a kid like me from a small town in rural Virginia could have been the next Tony Dorsett, Ronald McNair—who I really wanted to be!—or Anthony Robbins makes me giddy.
My first brush with the American Dream happened in the back of Mrs. Nunn's 7th grade English class. My friend Jerry and I compiled a list of our 30-some-odd combined Nintendo games. We settled on a daily rental price of $2—the amount of cash most kids brought in for school lunch. I purchased some clear plastic cases to house cartridges and Jerry tracked the rentals on a spreadsheet. Before long, we were renting and selling games and enjoying our returns. That was until Jerry learned that his family was moving to Lexington, Virginia. And though our business ended, I learned a valuable lesson: if you have something of value, people will buy it. I carried that lesson on to my next endeavors. I peddled blow pops and fireballs for quarters, washed car windows at the shopping center for a couple of bucks, and bought, traded and sold sports cards. I was even among the top sellers in our school fundraisers throughout junior high school.
"Within our dreams and aspirations we find our opportunities." —Sugar Ray Leonard
Living in a country where taking bold action is encouraged and where people who do so are rewarded excites me. And this is a passion that I pass on to my boys. When I hear about their dreams, we go straight to action steps. I want them to see how an idea can materialize right before their eyes.
But this one is for you. As parents, our lives are more than our kids. By pursuing our dreams, we inspire theirs. My father had so many regrets because he put his kids before his dreams despite the fact that they could have coexisted. So what dreams do you have? What's on your bucket list? When you live in land where you can become anything you want to be and where the next great innovation could pop into your head over your bowl of Panera broccoli and cheese soup, it's flat out awesome to think that you could be dirt poor today and filthy rich tomorrow.
Ain't that America?