Have Your Dreams Died?

Have you ever been called out about your passions?

Has someone ever questioned your dreams?

If not, you’re probably not dreaming. That’s understandable—and not uncommon. Maybe somewhere in your past, someone or something hurt you so badly that you’ve forgotten how to dream.

If you’ve allowed others’ judgment to take root within you and paralyze you with fear;

Please – take heart.

My 3-year old reminded me this week about why we dream in the first place.

I occasionally play gigs around town. It’s a chance for me to engage my passion and there is nothing more rewarding than seeing my own son in the audience. He loves music. Actually, obsessed is probably a more accurate description. It’s no wonder, I’ve been singing to MJ since he was mere months old.

Maybe it was my lack of knowledge on how to be a father or my lack of creativity with ways to entertain a newborn. Either way, it has always been part of our father-son connection. Now, since he’s old enough to join in, we jam together.

MJ air drumming

MJ air drumming

Liz and I have always intentionally encouraged Matthew to dream, and we’ve provided continuous opportunities for him to engage his passions. We even put on shows, introducing him as he takes the stage, cheering relentlessly after his performance.

Last Christmas, Santa delivered every existing musical instrument for this little boy to enjoy: a drum set, guitar, banjo, harmonica, accordion, ukulele, saxophone, flute, tambourine, steel drum – and what collection wouldn’t be complete without the Australian Didgeridoo?

So what do you think my little guy always takes for his preschool Show-and-Tell?


His class organizes Show-and-Tell by letter, so when Q was up, MJ led his class in a hearty rendition of Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” I mean, hands slapping thighs and all.

When the letter S came around, MJ took his steel drum fresh from St. Lucia; a gift from Uncle Mark and Aunt Katy after their honeymoon to the tropical getaway.

As MJ proudly displayed his newest instrument, one of his classmates asked, “Why do you always bring music stuff?”

Have you ever been in this position, under the spotlight, faced with criticism, all eyes on you?

Now I wasn’t there, so I can’t assume how the question was asked, but from the teacher’s observation, there was a slight note of frustration from the other student. Like, “Ok dude, we get it.” Or better yet, “Why is that your dream?”

That is the type of sting that could cause a paralyzing wound. Maybe keep you from ever dreaming again.

But not MJ. Not this time.

His response echoed a reminder of why we dream in the first place.

“I thought you’d like to dance.”

MJ’s dream wasn’t about himself at all.

He loves music, but he wants to inspire others to dance.

That’s brilliant.

This exchange reminded me of why anyone would pursue living richly.

A rich life leaves a legacy that lasts throughout many generations.

It awakens your soul to create influence that ripples through time and into eternity.

However, your music won’t make everyone dance, and that’s ok too. There will always be those yelling at you to turn it down, or even asking why is this your passion?

The downers. The discouragers. The dream killers.

Never let them stop you.

MJ challenged me and I’ll challenge you:

Sing to the music of your heart; it will move others to dance.


MJ singing

MJ singing

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  • Tonia Hurst

    Aside from having just about the cutest sidekick I’ve seen lately on FB (MJ) this is a very well written and enjoyable piece. Between the words and the images you capture that joy of dreaming. Nicely done.

    • Thanks Tonia! “The joy that is dreaming” – love that phrase. I appreciate you stopping by.

  • What Tonia said, oh yes.

    The tricky part of writing well is telling a story with the right cadence. Wow, did you deliver with how you spun the beats for this one. MJ’s answer to his critic is killer.

    When the critics come for me, I now have my answer ready. Why do I write?

    “Because I thought you’d like to get lost in a really good read.”

    Thanks, MJ.

    • Hey Laura – maybe the guys would enjoy that one! As always thanks for adding your insight.

      • You’re right! I’ll be sharing this with them. And they’ll like it, because so many of them are musicians. MJ’s response is just so perfect.

        • I was trying to think of a musicians site to share this with, but couldn’t think of any – that should be a motto somewhere! 3-year old wisdom!

  • Little cousin is a wheeler and a dealer; he put a three year old smack down on his class mate. He dreams big because he is parented into his finding his passion, which will always be one of the greatest gifts we can ever guide our children into receiving. Love you cuz!

    • Likewise Trey. Carry on brother!

  • Loved the encouragement of this piece! We all need to “keep making our music” so the world can dance!

  • Marie Bryant

    Matt, I love this story! Music and a good dance, whether alone or with someone who shares it with you, will make so many changes in your outlook that it is amazing! It has always been my philosophy to enjoy the music, enjoy the dance, enjoy life. Thanks for the reminder and give MJ a big high five from me!

    • Marie I’ll pass on the high five! Get Berk and MJ together and a lot of dancing going on!

  • Oh, the lessons we learn from little ones with fresh hearts. I pray that my kids continue to be dreamers and that we are able to guide them. My 3 year old Matthew LOVES to dance. A few weeks ago we went to a church dinner/dance and he rocked the dance floor for two hours. He would just stand and dance with everyone and with no one in particular. I was hiding in a corner, waiting for someone to ask me to restrain my child. Thankfully, people at the party were very amused and entertained by his contagious energy. We just let him do his thing. He even got on stage with the band and started jamming and singing with them. We asked him what the favorite part of that day had been and without hesitation he said “Dancing!” Thanks for sharing this endearing story and for reminding me to dance and sing like no one is watching!

    • Lily, it sounds like our Matthews need to meet!! Dance Party!!

  • Loved hearing about MJ’s dream. It was so cute how his focus was on others and how they might enjoy something he offered. Oh we need the dreams inside of us to be awakened. Love the idea of dreams. We just need to be sensitive to the fact others dream too. We don’t want to be dream squashers. Thanks for the post.

    • Respecters and protectors of dreams! Thanks Anne!

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  • Hello Matt,

    We have to keep in mind that our art/work impacts those around us so we should keep producing it. The dreams and aspirations we have need to be protected and guarded. Great post!

    • There’s a certain confidence in our calling that will move others. A key to leadership is vision, right Dan?

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