Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.

— Winston Churchill

Childhood Dreams Fulfilled or Collecting Dust?

I’m halfway through Randy Pausch’s “The Last Lecture

A lot of professors give talks titled “The Last Lecture.” Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can’t help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?

When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave–”Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”–wasn’t about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because “time is all you have…and you may find one day that you have less than you think”). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.

In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be shared for generations to come.

(For more about his story, click here.)

The book does exactly as it sets out to do–make you think. I’ve found myself contemplating my own childhood dreams and trying to articulate what they were. Have I accomplished any, and if so which? Have I been diligent in knocking down barriers? Who and what influenced my successes and failures, in addition to myself.

“The Last Lecture” is also making me think about how I can help my son Aaron to be a dream realizor rather than a passive passenger in his own life. To be passive has always seemed unacceptable to me, and this book is charging into my conscience and helping me to remember how critical it to teach our children to question and search for answers, and to never take ”No” at face value. It’s also reminding me of a little girl with wild pigtails who’s favorite T-shirt read, “Here Comes Trouble.” I think I wore that shirt every day for an entire summer.

I need to remember, to re-capture what exactly were my childhood dreams? I think I’ve succeeded in some, but I’m also quite sure there are others I’ve let sit dormant far too long. 

What about you? Do you have childhood dreams you’ve fulfilled and those that you’ve allowed to collect dust?


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3 comments to Childhood Dreams Fulfilled or Collecting Dust?

  • Shiela

    I’m always looking for a new book to read – sounds like I should pick this one up! Maybe the kids and I will go to the bookstore today…
    I do have to say, there is one childhood dream I have been able to realize. I wanted to be an artist. And I am – kinda ;) But at the same time, it is the only skill I ever thought I possesed that I thought I could do. And the one thing I enjoyed most. So I eventually found a way to make it work (thanks Dad for pushing me into the arena of computers. “Computers are the future Shiela…”) So mission accomplished there. But I think there are many more things I could explore. I have plenty of dreams from my young adulthood that are unrealized…

  • If I had dreams as a child I don’t remember what they were. I think I was a rather ignorant kid, unaware of what was “out there” to wish and dream about. But as I got older and discovered a world outside of my limited one, I couldn’t get enough and tried to do too much. And now I’m an indecisive boob a lot of the time because of it.

    Thank you for adding me to your “Now Brewing…” list. I am happy to add you to mine as well, along with giving you a future shout out.

    And oh my god, the pooping in the pool. I’m beside myself over that one. :)

    - Margaret

  • Brad

    Definitely follow the links to his site. His Last Lecture and Time Management talks are on youtube and google video. Well worth taking time to watch! Did you know about Randy or did your curiously follow my link??

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