Dream The Difference!

Mon. March 17, 2008 12:00 AM
by Bill Pritchard

Not too long ago I was talking with my young friend Zach and we got talking about his future. I think that is one of my favorite subjects when I listen to people! I think that most people have a dream about what they would like to be and do in the future. Clearly no matter what age you are you have goals and ideas of reaching certain points!

In talking with Zach, a question popped into my mind and I asked him, "What are you doing today to protect that dream?". He looked at me somewhat inquisitively and asked what I meant. It's a simple question really and one that we all should ask from time to time. What are you doing today to make sure your future dreams come true?

In Zach's case, he would like to run for office some day. Of course he is pursuing his education and fostering a good network of connections. I asked the question primarily because I know how hard it is to be a young man in today's gay world. There are a lot of tempting things out there for him to trip up on. Sure, we talk about the big ones like drugs, safe sex and other activities, but rarely do we hear conversations about Reputation , Personal Endorsement and Taking A Stand .

Reputation :
When I came out to my Brother David Pritchard he said something to me that I will never forget! He told me to remember that my reputation in the community reflected him and my parents. SO TRUE! In short, every activity or action that I did or didn't do, had better reflect positively on him! To be honest, I've never heard a negative word about my brother. He's hard working and faithful and has always been a great role model. Although I probably do things differently than he would; to this day I hold very seriously the family name and the reputation it holds. When I do or say things, I do it as my parent's son and my brother's brother. My respect for them and the work they've done holds me accountable. Looking at your life, what does your reputation mean? When people see or think of you, what do you believe they feel in their gut? What are you being and doing to perpetuate that view. ( Note : This is not an issue of trying to please people or caring what others think; rather this is an opportunity to Make A Difference through our life)

Personal Endorsement :
It's safe to say that people know me as being a person who doesn't endorse drug use and yet I have a lot of friends who use. I've been asked time and again why I'm endorsing my friends who use, when clearly I'm anti illegal drug. Truth is, they are my friends and I care for them, however, I cannot control their choices. I will attempt to influence their lifestyle. One of my great pals (who shall remain nameless) uses and always takes the extra step to keep it out of my vision or presence. His respect for my convictions raises the level of his actions. However, sometimes there are moments where he can't control whether or not I see something I shouldn't.

One just moment happened not to long ago. It was simple; I stood up and excused myself from the situation. Later on when I talked with him about it, he apologized. If I had stayed in that moment it would have given the impression that I was fine with what was going on when I wasn't. Stepping away clearly showed that I didn't endorse the activity. What does your life endorse? Even if you are not in the negative action, does your presence promote differently?

Taking A Stand :
One of my mentors in college impressed on me the importance of taking a stand for what you believed. Bob was a guy that always had a great time and could keep me laughing 24/7 and yet without a blink of an eye, he was always able to bring the conversation right to things he thought were important. There was no mistaking what he thought. Could someone say that about you? Do you believe in what you really feel convicted about? If you're around me long enough you will hear me talk about Difference Making, Boystown, or my Family. These are things that I take a daily stand on. I hopefully make it clear that I am very committed to these things and willing to stand up for them. What in your life are you so committed to?

Finally, with regard to your hopes and dreams, let me ask you, What steps are you taking today to make those dreams happen and what are you doing to protect those dreams? When I spoke with my friend Zach about his great dream of impacting his community through public office I wanted to make him think about his current state and what he could be doing to insure his future dream. Let's be honest, if you want to be in public life, there are some safeguards that you need to have in place now ; even at a young age. It sounds to me like we could all use these safeguards to insure our dreams becoming a reality! At any age!