And I've been thinking about a column The Telegraph ran this weekend, from the Philly Inquirer.
The central point was that we shouldn't be teaching kids they can be anything they want, just because they set their mind to it. Because luck has too much to do with it.
You can yearn ardently to become something, yet lack the essential aptitude. Or you can work hard toward a rational dream, and be thwarted by the fates.
"You can be anything you want to be" willfully ignores all of this. Its first fault is to encourage folks to pursue false dreams. Its second is to encourage the lucky to blame the less lucky when they fall short (which only encourages the unlucky to become mired in grievance).
You know what I thirsted to be when I was a kid? Shortstop for the Cleveland Indians. But the genetic lottery rendered me too short, slow and myopic ever to reach that goal. I could have worked in the batting cage until my palms bled and still never sniffed that dream. I'm lucky life clued me into this early.
I emailed the columnist, Chris Satullo, to ask him how hard he tried to become shortstop for the Cleveland Indians. And whether that really was his dream.
I got an automated response. He's out on assignment with "Great Expectations," a forum for citizens to improve the city of Philadelphia.
Not realistic goals. Not mediocre hopes. Great Expectations.
And last night I watched a local kid with braces go on a national T.V. with his deep Georgia drawl and get top billing over Kevin Bacon. There he was yes-sirring David Letterman with a big smile on his face, talking about how he and his teammates tried to console the Japanese kids after beating them in Sunday's Little League World Series.
"You just can't let 'em cry," he said. And I was so proud.
Dalton said he'd like to be a professional baseball player. But if that doesn't work out he wants to be a pharmacist.
In Satullo's column fate came out as the bad guy, killing dreams and serving up excuses.
But maybe God gives us the dreams we need, whether they always work out or not.
When I have kids I'm going to tell them they can be anything they want. Because belief beats anything. And love is even better.
We should have nothing less for ourselves, our families, our communities and our world.