Even though I’m a card-carrying member of AARP, I still ponder the wisdom my maternal grandmother, Mama Farley, possessed. The world undoubtedly saw her as a simple Appalachian mountain woman, but her strength and understanding of life rippled out to all who knew her. And even though she never had read Henry Ford’s quotation of “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’ll be right,” she understood the power of confidence.
In fact, she summarized the King James Version of Proverbs 23:7a—“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he”—with her own interpretation: “Believing makes it so.”
As a classroom teacher, I read a study stressing the importance of helping children believe in themselves. I’ve forgotten the study’s name, but I do remember it involved giving students a test and then reporting to the teachers higher scores for those students who had received the lowest ones. Since the teachers believed the students could do a better job—and told them so—the students believed it also and lived up to those expectations.
Mable, an elderly friend, modeled this principle in her late eighties. She had raised her family, helped her widowed daughter raise hers, and then decided it was time to do what she’d always wanted: get an education. Because she believed she could accomplish her dream, she did exactly that. Her major? American history, of course! When she died in her nineties, she was making plans to start her master’s degree.
If our dream seems unachievable, we can look at it another way. Barbara regretted not getting an education but, at 43, she wasn’t about to sit through four years of teen classes. Then she heard about the GED (graduate equivalency degree) that would take the place of her high school diploma. Within a month of passing the test—on the first try—she signed up for classes at the local college and was working toward her dream of becoming a nurse.
And we shouldn’t hesitate to add so called silly things to our believing lists, too. As Jean approached her seventieth birthday, she regretted lost childhood activities, particularly roller-skating. Something inside her demanded she call the local rink to check on lessons. Though she was the oldest one in the afternoon class, and was decked out in knee and elbow pads and a helmet, she skated! And she didn’t break anything in the process. Once she’d tackled that goal, she decided to enjoy the next item on her list: joining a hiking club. Since her list was lengthy, she soon stopped worrying about age.
Maybe it’s time for us to look at old dreams with new eyes and new plans. Will everything turn out the way we want? Well, no. But if we don’t try, we’ll never give life to our dreams. So let’s take a deep breath, grasp our heavenly Father’s hand and step forward. Remember, “believing makes it so.” I’m ready.
How about you? What dreams are you ready to grab?