A dream is a vision. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream. That dream was a vision of a better tomorrow…for everyone.
On August 28, 1963 Dr. King shared his dream from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in front of several hundreds of thousands of people. His I Have a Dream Speech has now been heard by billions around the world over the last sixty years. It is one of the most influential speeches in history.
Whenever I get the opportunity to speak to an audience on leadership, I always include the concept of vision and what it means to me. I believe that vision is simply, “The ability to see further.” Further than those who aren’t gifted with the ability to or further than those who are unwilling to look that far.
Each presentation I give features one slide with two things. A picture that means the world to me and an excerpt from Dr. King’s historic speech.
The Picture on the Slide
It was a cool, crisp October 2020 night at Halbrooks Field in Acworth, Georgia when the picture above was taken. The 10U Acworth Warriors had just advanced to the league championship game on an epic last-minute drive to defeat the Rome Wolves.
This was a special group of boys for me. Two things made them special. One, my favorite player of all time was on the team, my son Grant (#25). Two, I usually only coached a group of kids for their seven-year-old season and then sent them on through the program from there. After twenty-one years of coaching, they would be the last team I coached. I was able to spend the last four years of my football coaching career with them.
They were super special to me.
The Excerpt on the Slide
Dr. King shared many dreams that day, but this specific dream Stuck with me. The excerpt reads as follows:
“I have a dream that one day…little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”
A Dream is a Vision
Here is what I explain to the audience that I am speaking to. See…Dr. King saw something no one else could. His dream was a vision.
There were people that heard that speech that day that desired to see a day in which “Little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and girls as sisters and brothers.”
They desired it, they wanted it, they prayed for it, they hoped for it. There is zero doubt.
But, here is the great differentiator…he SAW it. It was his VISION. From those steps in Washington D.C. on that fateful day, he saw this night in Acworth, Georgia nearly fifty-seven years later. He saw my son playing football with kids that were of different races, different ethnicities, and had different stories. I really believe he did. This was his vision.
Dr. King saw further than everyone else. Those who believed in the dream and those who didn’t. He had a vision and pursued it relentlessly. Dr. King would lay his life down for that vision…a group of ten-year-old boys from different worlds, joining hands as brothers.
There is still work to be done to fulfill his vision. Each of us has a tremendous responsibility to use our gifts and abilities to help the world see further.