CWR Sage Sporty King, ACS/CL, The Master of Listening
A Dream Deferred
“What happens to a dream deferred? Does it wither…?”
Sporty King, ACS/CL, The Master of Listening
No, no, wait, that’s not the dream I’m talking about. I’m talking about a dream we cannot defer: DREAM (Daring to Recognize Everyone As our Messenger)…. You see, we hear the same messages over and again. It’s not until our messenger delivers it that we get it. Haven’t you ever been caught up in the shock of saying or being asked, “That’s what I’ve been telling you all along… he says it once, and now you get it?”
YES… and for a couple of reasons.
1) You may not be my messenger for that lesson.
2) We learn through repetition, and as children. How
many times are we required and willing to say to
a baby, “Hot…hot…hot…” in hopes of getting
them to NOT touch the stove? Only to later come
to the rescue when they have to find out for
themselves that you were not trying to teach them
the lyrics to some Calypso song (Feeling Hot, Hot,
Hot)… and they finally touch that stove…turn
to look at you and scream, “Oh, you mean I could
burn myself by touching the stove… why didn’t
you just say so?”
Let me remind you that we are all still very much babies, or at least willing to admit having a child within. And as we choose to embrace (or escape from) that child, we have to be willing to heed to warnings and meanings from those among us who apparently have our well being at heart. We have to be willing to play this game called LIFE – Lessons Intended For Everyone, and GET our lesson from every situation. Oh, yes, there is a lesson in everything we experience. And it’s not always a positive lesson. Sometimes the lesson will burn or sting. When that happens it becomes incumbent upon us to log the consequence and reshape our actions to avoid allowing it to be fatal. Because there is a bottom line component that rejoices in the fact that we’re still alive.
We learn through repetition. We cannot get so caught up in moving forward that we don’t take the time to go within and check with that child who began learning that lesson years ago, and applying our heightened sense of reality. Rather than beating ourselves up and wondering how many times it’ll take… know that it will take as many times as needed until you get it. And know that that’s okay. Someone will come to your rescue.
Yet, just as we can learn from that child within, we can learn from the many children surrounding our lives. Try not to get caught up in echoing the neighbors in stating that, “these kids of today aren’t going to make.” As far as I’m concerned that statement denies our seeds, for “these kids of today” are related to “us kids of yesterday” who weren’t supposed to make it. Look at the children in your life and figure out which of your traits they’re actually mirroring. If you can’t find any… the problem lies with you.
In 1996, when I was competing for the Regional Championship in Green Bay, my 16 year old nephew from New York, spent the 2 weeks leading up to the contest with me. Months later he got in trouble in school because the teacher said he didn’t speak loud enough. When my sister asked him about his behavior, he told her, “Uncle Sporty said that when you use vocal variety and speak in a soft tone people have to pay closer attention to what you have to say….”
I have 6 nieces ranging from 23-13. Two years ago I started a tradition of taking each of them on a lunch or dinner date according to their age. When I took my 14 year old niece to lunch I sat across from her, yet explained that once she began dating to give a guy more ‘points’ for sitting next to her at the table, where they could take in the same scenery and share the commonalities in the experience. Last year, on our second date, I graciously pulled out her chair to seat her… then proceeded to sit across from her again. She immediately said, “Uncle Sporty I thought you said the best guys sit next to their date?”
Hot… hot… hot… we learn through repetition… we learn a lot from, and as children. Thus we must now trust ourselves to be wise enough to choose the right messengers to keep in our lives. Please don’t confuse having your message, with keeping your messenger. In fact, in ‘The Celestine Prophesy’ it states that everyone we meet has a message for us. It’s not necessarily a positive message, it could be, ‘Hi, you don’t need to be bothered with me, move on,’ but thereis a message… and you have to get it. Still, that doesn’t make every messenger one that we want to keep. The messengers we need to keep are the ones who remind and allow us to be ourselves.
Thus it is a communications principle that helps us select our messengers: listening. Listening is the #1 communication skill. Listen to what people around you say and, more importantly to what your spirit is saying. Please consider yourself so precious that you won’t surrender being who you are just to keep someone in your life. In fact there’s a saying by one of my favorite authors, (“Unknown”), which reminds us “… not to make anyone a priority in your life, who makes you an option in theirs.”
Dare to recognize everyone as your messenger… choose the messages and messengers to keep.
One messenger you do not want to lose is you. There’s a poem I can attribute to the author, which talks about how important it is ignore the grass’ possibly being greener on the other side of the fence. It speaks against wanting to be in someone else’s shoes, when the only shoes you’ll really be good at filling are your own. It reminds us to laugh when someone says, “If I were you, I would do this or that….” They have no idea what they would do if there were you… because they have no idea what they would do if they were themselves.
I am the author of this poem, and it’s entitled “I Miss Me.”
I thought about switching lives with you.
But I miss me already.
See, I don’t know if you enjoy waking up every morning
And that happens to be one of my favorite moments
Because it starts me off having reached my primary goal of the day
For my goal everyday is to wake up tomorrow…
And I don’t know if you really appreciate how your fingers and toes move.
While I know I really get a kick out of feeling
solid, soft or sandy soil supporting my successful stride.
I happen to enjoy touching, squeezing, holding
and pointing myself in the right direction
That direction is up, (by the way) are you headed that way?
I know I am,
And I’d sure like to be in my shoes when I get there…
Because I pretty much know how I’d deal with the crowds.
Got my acceptance speech ready, and been practicing my smile
Come to think of it,
I’ve been working on it since I was a child.
My favorite outfit will be pressed brand new
Family, friends, teachers, heroes, TV shows, clients, habits and hobbies
They’ll all be there too.
Can’t say I’d know how to handle them all,
if I woke up and found out I was you.
My mentors would take credit, while giving me praise
They’d help me relive memories and cherish new days
Oh, how I would laugh at the tough times
and the material things that were lost
And rejoice in the character they helped build
See, my life and spirit are beyond monetary cost.
Every enemy would stand in their place
and receive equal time to express the beauty they inspired through their negativity.
Let’s face it,
so many of the lessons we actually learn come from disharmony.
A selfish person made me want to share…
A jealous person helped me recognize insecurity…
A lie reminded me to tell the truth…
I remember joy & pain… I like sunshine & rain…
And it was a man who taught me how to be a man.
I’ve been vigilant, patient, spontaneous, loving, mean, mischievous.
Ignorant, irresponsible, (irresistible), innocent, intelligent, intuitive, intimate, inconsistent, informed/interesting, introspective/indecisive, insightful/insatiable, insensitive/incredible, indispensable, independent, incoherent/incognito, indescribable, inexperienced, infallible, indestructible, inspirational, inquisitive, instinctive, instrumental, insecure, inventive, inundated, indisposed, incredible, incomplete, in tune, in touch, IN…
Outstanding/outrageous, outside/outsmarted, outspoken/outdone, outmaneuvered/outthought, outlandish/outclassed, outwitted/outcast, outnumbered, outraged, outright, out foxed, outfitted, outrun, outreached, outranked, outvoted, outgoing, out of sight, out of this world…
oh, yes, even out of breath… (and almost) out of my mind…
Because, I thought about switching lives with you.
But I miss me already.
See, I don’t know if you enjoy waking up every morning,
And that happens to be one of my favorite moments.
© 2001 Sporty King
Ladies and Gentlemen: I believe that the dream will not be deferred. It will pave the way for excellence.
About Sporty King, ACS/CL: Sporty King was crowned one of the Top Nine Speakers in the World in 1996 at the Toastmasters International World Championship of Public Speaking. Sporty is a conference speaker, author, and poet with a message for adults that resonates with young people. He is a former Wall Street Journal executive with an inspirational message that inspires people to understand success while enhancing their interpersonal and communication skills. He interactively uses his creativity, positive words and thoughts to help people feel good.