Follow Your Dreams, Bailey

This week, I started reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It’s one of those books that’s been touted as bewitching, enchanting, marvelous, mesmerizing, etc… and thus far, I’ve mostly found it intriguing. I admit I’ve been taking it a little slow, because I often struggle to get into books that jump POVs or follow some sort of weird chronology. Also, it’s an odd simple present tense that’s a bit distracting to me.

However, I found I lovely passage that I thought I’d share because I’m a dreamer. I’m the type who refuses to stop writing and believes wholeheartedly that I’m going to live by my pen someday.

This passage reminded me how important it is to choose our dreams, even when it doesn’t seem like we should. Even when it’s difficult and Bailey’s parents the world tells us to take over the family farm play it safe and practical.

“I do not particularly care whether you attend Harvard,” his grandmother says one afternoon, though Bailey has not mentioned it. He generally attempts to avoid the subject, thinking he knows perfectly well where she stands.

He adds another spoon of sugar to his tea and waits for her to elaborate.

“I believe it would offer you more opportunity,” she continues. “And that is something I would like you to have, even if your parents are not enthused about the idea. Do you know why I gave my daughter permission to marry your father?”

“No,” Bailey says. It is not a topic that has ever been discussed in his presence, though Caroline once told him in secret she heard it was something of a scandal. Even almost twenty years later, his father never sets foot in his grandmother’s house, nor does she ever come out to Concord.

“Because she would have run off with him regardless,” she says. “That was what she wished. It would not have been my choice for her, but a child should not have their choices dictated to them. I have listened to you read books aloud to my cats. When you were five years old you turned a laundry tub into a pirate ship and launched an attack against the hydrangeas in my garden. Do not try to convince me that you would choose that farm.”

“I have a responsibility,” Bailey says, repeating the word he has begun to hate.

His grandmother makes a noise that may be a laugh or a cough or a combination of the two.

“Follow your dreams, Bailey,” she says. “Be they Harvard or something else entirely. No matter what that father of yours says, or how loudly he might say it. He forgets that he was someone’s dream once, himself,” (pp. 111-112).

Sometimes, I find myself telling my students to be more practical. After all, it’s really not likely that they’ll make it if they put all their eggs in the pro-gamer basket. And, while I think it’s part of my job to tell them to have a backup plan, I also hope they have a grandmother at home, telling them to follow their dreams.



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