Going from Hope to Reality

“As the President of Brushton College, it’s my pleasure to stand before you today to honor this year’s class of graduates.”  So began Ed Clarke’s first commencement ceremony as President of Brushton College.  He continued:  “Before we announce the names of our graduates, I ask you to look around the quad where you are now sitting.  The oak trees that surround the quad make this a special place in my heart.  I had always hoped to go to college, but never had the money.  I was fortunate to get a job as a groundskeeper here at Brushton.  Mostly, I mowed grass and removed snow in the winter, but I also planted trees.  Yes, the trees that shade us today, I planted many years ago.  I never thought my hope of going to college would become a reality, until one of the faculty became my mentor.  Growing up, I never imagined being where I am today, but here I am.  Just imagine where this class will be in the future.”

All of us have hopes.  Many become realities, while others don’t.  Going from hope to reality is something we all experience, but rarely do we think about how this happened.

First, hopes need to be fundamentally sound.  We can’t hope to be a seven foot tall basketball star if we are only 5’6” tall.  We can dream about things all we want, but hopes need to be achievable.

We may also need someone to guide us in our journey from hope to reality.  Finding a hope mentor requires that you be open to others about your hopes and respond to the guidance that is provided.

Going from hope to reality is also hard work.  There will be many obstacles and challenges.  There will be times when you think your hopes will never be realized.  A mentor can certainly help you through those tough moments, but ultimately you need to make the right choices and take the right actions to succeed.

Your journey from hope to reality will come in small steps rather than in large leaps.  As a result, you need to have milestones along the way on your journey that let you know you are making progress. You can’t rely upon others to tell you that you are making progress on your journey.  You have to feel it yourself.

Think what our society would look like if we increased our national capacity for turning hopes into realities.  How many of our national concerns (e.g. opioid addiction, depression, unemployment, skills shortages) could be reduced with a national hope/reality strategy?  How do we encourage hope mentoring or make it easier to connect those who might be great mentors to those who need guidance?  And how do we discourage those who seem to enjoy dashing the hopes of others?

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Could the hope for a more hopeful society ever become a reality?  Let’s hope.

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