Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Henry David Thoreau

While I taught U.S. History today I read this quote by Henry David Thoreau to the students.

"I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours...If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundation under them."

Mr. Thoreau was a transcendentalist and instead of writing about the importance of a simple life, individual exploration, and self-reliance, as his mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson did, he actually lived in a cabin on Walden Pond alone for two years. He was a man of principle that never gave into the social pressures of his day. Instead of paying taxes to a government that supported slavery and a war against Mexico, he went to jail. His example of civil disobedience was forerunner for some of the greatest leaders in the world, Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi. Despite his credibility to comment on making dreams, I too, am convinced that this quote is true. I have been told by my mother since I was a very young girl that I could do whatever I wanted to do. In the past, I had dismissed my interests and dreams because they did not seem practical or fitting for the lifestyle I wanted. I do not regret the progress I have made so far, but I do believe that my dreaming and building days are not over. The only limit we have on our potential is ourselves. One of the great benefits of this day and age are the resources that we have to learn. It is so important to me to teach my children and the students that I have any influence over, to continue to dream and believe that nothing is out of their reach. A couple of days ago I spoke with a student about her aspirations. I was so impressed with her goals and encouraged her to go for it. I explained to her that the true test of her character would come when things got hard and she would have to overcome. Just a little serious reflection for the day.

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