Superman…A Philosopher?

I came across a quote attributed to Christopher Reeve, the actor who played the role of Superman among other things during his acting career.  The quote is this:

“So many dreams at first seem impossible.  And then they seem improbable.  And then when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”

I know several retired teachers and each of them is the kind of person who no doubt inspired children they encountered and nurtured in just this way.  I can see them encouraging their students to follow their dreams; many of them still do that even in retirement.

Then I think of those among us who are very quick to point out to anyone with a dream how they will just be disappointed if they even begin to try to follow their dream.  There is a danger that we might get to the point of being poison to dreams that are still being dreamed.  How do we deal with youngsters who dream of this and that and the other thing that they might become?  Are we encouraging or do we tend to be discouraging by telling them their dream is very difficult to accomplish and that they might be better fulfilled if they lowered their goals?

John Glenn died yesterday at the age of 95.  He went into space for the final time in his mid-seventies.  He was a career Marine.  He was the first man to orbit the earth. He was a U.S. Senator.  Where would we be today if John Glenn had been encouraged to temper his dreams with the admonition that he might just be disappointed if he chose to follow the path he was destined to follow?

Of course, not everyone who follows his or her dream is successful but, at the least, they will never have the regret in later years that they didn’t, at least, try.

Transferring this line of thought to our current world, how many of the Black Lives Matter young men and women will end their lives having lived their dream?  Will they be something even greater than they had envisioned or will they die disheartened and feeling aggrieved because of their plight? I think of the hundreds of murders annually in Chicago and wonder about the young men and women in that area and what they will end up with at the end of their lives for memories?  Those who die annually on those streets did not likely have time to follow their dreams.

I think of children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren in our family and wonder what each of them will have accomplished in the course of their lifetimes?

It is probably a good thing that we are not immortal for our mortality spares us some suffering.  And we have the promise of paradise to follow this life to anticipate and revel over.  Maybe the single best thing we can each do in this life is to help someone who is just beginning their journey recognize that our achievements are largely up to each of us.  If we dwell on failures and lament those occurrences that weighed us down, we will likely be failures.

If, on the other hand, we pay scant attention to the naysayers along the way, might we not emerge as one among the many who became a John Glenn, or a Christopher Reeves, or a teacher or a doctor or a nurse or a skilled mechanic or an artist or a physician or any one of the tens of thousands of things available to us today?

As a very wise person told me long ago, no matter what you choose to become, be the very best at it that you can be.  Enjoy each hour of each day lest it is the last and you’ll have wasted it.

“So many dreams at first seem impossible.  And then they seem improbable.  And then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”

Thanks, Superman!

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