Hello, America! What is your "Dream"?


"You're the Red, White and Blue. The Funny things you do. America, America, this is you." - theme from America's Funniest Home Videos (AFV)

Hello, America.

I've gotten to know quite a few things about you over the last 30+ years. There truly are some wonderful things that I can't wait to talk about! In fact, I have started this blog to talk about the great hope I have for you. But first we've got to discuss some problems. Actually, there are a lot of problems. These aren't one or two issues on the fringe of society. No, these are close-to-home, mainstream cultural problems. I think we can work through these issues, but we've got to acknowledge them first.

As we identify them in this blog, my hope is that we can trade out the crippling traditions, misnomers, lies we believe, and other destructive teachings and habits for some new--or renewed--principles that will help us figure out what our values are as people. If we can successfully identify what's important for existing as human beings, I'd like to propose incorporating (I know you like that word, America) those human values into our American culture.

So let's start with things you're teaching people about what it means to be American.

Like...

"The American Dream".

What is your Dream, America? And how have I learned it? Let me just talk it out here:

The first 10 years, I focused on the basics, learning how to:

- walk, talk, speak, write, sit, and listen

- rely on my parents for everything

- acquire new skills for sports and recreation

All the while, I dreamed about having my own house, with a family and working as a police officer, a teacher, or a fireman --or touring the world as a rockstar.

The American Dream.

In my teens, I focused on identity, learning how

- my newly acquired skills in sports and recreation are a huge part of identity

- it's important to meet expectations

- to be like everybody else

- to be different than everyone else, sometimes

- loving is hard--just finding love for yourself--let alone other people

- your physical appearance determines much of your success

- Depression sneaks up on you. How it goes on for years. How it affects your parents.

- kids attempt suicide

- being a teenager sucks because of all the homework with little money or autonomy

All the while, I dreamed about being an adult...

the freedom to be independent.

The American Dream.

The third decade was the killer. My 20s.

It started off great! Because I had stayed away from drugs and alcohol through high school, my parents fulfilled a long ago promise to pay for college.

College gave me a taste of the freedom I hungered for. There I learned

- to NOT rely on my parents for everything

- to take risks

- how to make new friends

- how to live in community with peers

- life changed every semester with tons of opportunities for learning and leadership and clubs and parties and concerts and speakers and conferences.

It was fun! I built confidence and friendships and experienced things like impromptu roadtrips or asking neighbors for butter at 3 am to make mac'n'cheese. But there was still that homework piece I couldn't wait to lose...

Finally, I graduated.

I thought this was the time I'd been waiting for.

I had now been prepared by the American public school system to live a successful, meaningful, fulfilling, autonomous, rich life! Now, I wouldn't have homework! And I'd have money! And I could do whatever I wanted with my time!

Independence!

The American Dream.

Right?

...

Right?! Well, maybe not quite.

Immediately after college, I spent a last summer working for the city park maintenance crew, before getting married in the fall and getting my first full-time corporate job. There I quickly learned:

- that skills in sports and recreation are no longer a huge part of identity

- how to rely on an employer

- it's important to meet expectations

- to be like everybody else

- to be different than everyone else, sometimes

- your physical appearance determines much of your success

- Depression sneaks up on you. It goes on for years. It affects your spouse.

- Adults attempt suicide

- how hard it is to figure out how to be married

- how much time a full work day is including the commute and un-paid lunch

- how mind-numbing a corporate job can be

- how you lose track of the seasons

- there's no summer vacation to look forward to

- how to hate my job

- how to be an alcoholic

- that many American people hate their jobs

- that most American people hate Mondays

- that many American people hate being adults

- being an adult sucks because of all the Bills with little money or autonomy

So I started to dream about Retirement...

the freedom to be independent.

The American Dream.

Wait a second... I was in my early twenties. And there I was daydreaming about "the next change" in my life--30 years later--when I would retire. I hadn't even lived 30 years yet! This felt like a bait and switch.

I had always dreamed of being an adult and now that I was one,

I hated it.

What's more is that it seemed like everyone else hated it, too! How could this be?

Alright, America. Time to come clean.

What is the American Dream?

#AmericanDream #AFV #Independence #destructiveteachings

Minneapolis, MN 55412

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