Simplify the Language, Inspire the Right Dream

Four of the most important words spoken in my lifetime (and maybe yours too) were “I have a dream.” Those words were spoken on August 28, 1963, to challenge our nation to stand for justice and freedom. It was the dream of one Reverend, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who paid with his life for speaking up with those essential words.

Toward the end of his speech, Dr. King said, “If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America and all over the world, when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.” Notice how he didn’t say it would be easy or uncomplicated but that it would speed up the day.

Throughout my life, I have always found it difficult to take no for an answer regarding dreams. It’s hard to hear someone say that a dream is not reasonable or that it’s not worth convincing someone that it is reachable. I don’t believe that, and I want to get people to realize that so we can “speed up the day.”

What we do in our organization is all about dreams. In our KenCrest language, we freely say that your dreams are our mission, and we believe in…

  • The dreams of the children and adults we support and their goals, hopes, and aspirations.
  • The dreams of the parents and families we partner with make their family members feel valued, loved, and given opportunities.
  • The dreams we have for ourselves and the meaningful work that matters.

In human service work, we use a fantastic list of jargon. Sometimes that bunch of words separates us from each other and from the deep purpose we have in life. I was challenged in a class a few years ago to say what the outcome of my work would be, and I have been trying to find those words ever since. Here is the dream I have:

  • I want to see everyone in our community have what they need in life: peace, health, and purpose.
  • I want everyone to live with love and everything that makes it possible.
  • I want every person to be treated with respect and dignity.
  • I want our actions to speak louder than words when we say everyone is equally valued.

Our mission carries the hope that we will help to make the world a better place. The how and what we do currently includes our programs, schools, and services. Those may change over the years, but our WHY will not. Let’s start to build a clearer vision of what and how we can change to improve our lives and those of the people we support.