Writing about your dreams can strike a chord with loved ones and readers. Just as writing about childhood hopes and dreams can shed light on your personal journey, your dreams for others matter as well. They explain who you are and where you’ve come from. They illustrate what matters to you.
Though Martin Luther King had used “I have a dream…” in speeches before, it wasn’t part of his prepared text for the March on Washington speech. According to Gary Young, he used it extemporaneously when he felt he hadn’t truly connected with his listeners.
For the masses there, the issues were already clear. They had not come to be convinced. They had come to be inspired.
Something about his dream of a better world resonated in a way that other orations couldn’t. Even today, we join him and share his vision and dream.
When you write about your dreams, allow your readers a glimpse in your vision for the future. In addition to your personal dreams, write about your dreams for society, for future generations, and for your children.
Dreams of change
What would a better world look like? What would you change if you could? What hardships have you suffered that you hope your children’s children won’t have to? What mistakes have you made that you hope others can avoid?
Write about your dreams for your children and grandchildren
When children are small, our dreams for them are limited to generalities—the biggies. Health, prosperity, and happiness. As they get older and their personalities emerge, our dreams for them change.
As they approach adulthood, we fine tune our dreams for them again. We know their strengths and their frailties. We have an idea of the struggles they’ll face.
Does (or did) your child have opportunities that you never had? What were they? What struggles lie ahead? Our minds jump to social issues like civil rights and inclusion, but there could also be new opportunities in medicine or technology.
Compare your dreams for yourself
My grandmother dreamed her children and grandchildren would travel. I’ve come to understand that dream through knowing what she dreamed for herself. I doubt that my grandmother ever left her home state of Virginia, but through her writing I know that she dreamed of going to New York City. I think that might have been part of the reason my mother and father chose NYC as their honeymoon destination.
It also explains why my grandmother kept a post card that I had sent her from Germany. Looking back, and putting myself in her place, I realize now how happy she was for me.
Providing historical context is one of my favorite soap boxes. When you write about your dreams, include background information that puts your dreams into context.
For instance, I think of one friend who grew up in the 50’s in North Carolina. As an African American, her childhood was fraught with fear. Speaking to the wrong person, walking on the wrong street, or going in the wrong doorway could be dangerous. Now that she has retired from a successful career as a school administrator and community pillar to be closer to her grandchildren, I wonder what she dreams for them.
 Gary Younge, “Martin Luther King: the story behind his ‘I have a dream’ speech,” TheGuardian.com, August 9, 2013, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/09/martin-luther-king-dream-speech-history.