Dream Big


I saw the sun gleaming off something bouncing along the shoreline. Intrigued, I walked closer and realized it was just a balloon. 

I grabbed the ribbon before the wind picked it up and carried it out into the sea.

Dream Big! This must have been from someone’s recent celebratory party—maybe graduation, or a new promotion. 

Dream Big. 

I smiled and thought of Rudy. Those were always his parting words to me every time we met. That was a lifetime ago.....







I looked at the piece of paper with the office number the college advisor had given me. She’d said, “Go see Rudy, he’ll set you up for next quarter.” Now, as I walked past faculty offices, I heard him before I saw him. Uproarious laughter echoed down the hall. 

Rudy Martin, Author, TESC professor
Peeking in the open door, a large arm waved me in and pointed to a seat that was surrounded by stacks of books. He was on the phone and enjoying the call immensely from the sound of it. 

I looked at floor to ceiling bookshelves crammed full. I wondered if he’d read them all. Rudy hung up the phone and in the same enthusiastic voice said, “What brings you here?”

I wish I knew. I was as confused as any college freshman could be. I had thought I was on the right track studying ecology and forestry, but now I was thinking more about psychology and helping kids. 

Rudy shook his head and gave me what I came to appreciate as his gentle shove. “No, you’re still thinking about what others want you to do. I want you to Dream Big!”


Peter Fogden, photo

I held the balloon in my hand and walked back to my beach chair. I tied the ribbon to it and watched the balloon dance in the wind. 

I had dreamed big and some of the dreams didn’t work, but the best ones did. Rudy probably knew that would happen, but without dreams, we don’t make plans, and without plans, we don’t try. Rudy got me to see that.


For all the students in classrooms once again, I hope you’ll dream big, make plans, and then do your work, so those dreams can be real.

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