The Boy Whose Dreams Were as Big as the Sky

Once upon a time, there was a boy whose dreams were as big as the sky. He believed he could be anything, including (just to give you the short list):  author, magician, inventor, taekwondo master, rapper, violin maestro, wrestling star, and, at three years of age, a pterodactyl. 

All through his youngest years, he worked hard and played harder. He lived inside his stories – big main character energy, as they say nowadays. He believed with all his heart that the people around him would join him in all of his exciting adventures – and, believe me, his passion for life as Lightning McQueen was contagious to the four-year-olds around him.

But, of course, they all kept growing, and with that growth came knowledge. For the boy, this knowledge put a word inside his head that started to nudge away his fantastical dreams. And that word was Different.

Different is a sharp word, a word with teeth. Different comes with friends; words like Weird. Words like Can’t. Words like Alone.

For a time, the boy lived in the dark with these words. He had people who loved him, certainly, who believed in his dreams of flight and fight and thrive. They saw him with his Minecraft sword and Superman cape and loved how he dreamed of something bigger and brighter. But it’s hard to fight against those insidious words. It’s hard to fight against the dark.

And so he stayed there for a while, and those who loved him took up watch in the dark with him, carefully holding their own candles to offer him glimpses of light. But the longer the words lived with him, the bigger they grew. And the bigger they grew, the more they knocked aside his dreams and blocked the flickering light from his dear ones’ hands.

But then, just when those who loved the boy began to despair, some new words began to trickle into the dark. They came small and slight at first. But they came anyway and wound their way around the boy. First came Visionary, then came Resilient. Exceptional and Brave whispered their way in, surrounding him completely. 

Different survived because it transformed into Unique, but there was no more room for Can’t. And there was no reason for Alone. And Weird? Well, the boy just didn’t care anymore.

Those who loved the boy watched him stand up, holding their breath along with their faltering lights. But they soon realized that their candles were no longer necessary, for the boy held his own, and it was positively radiant.

That boy walked out of the dark on his own and stepped into the world’s light. It was not smaller or less magical than before, and it was filled with endless possibilities. The boy’s dreams, now tempered by resilience and fortified by new words, began to take on increasingly vivid shapes and colors.

And, much to the joy of those who loved him, he began to see that being different was not a burden but a beacon. The boy who once faced the dark had become a guiding light, helping others find their own path out of the dark.

From the audience, those who loved him watched with pride as he stood on the valedictorian podium. They remembered the boy who had once struggled with the words that tried to dim his light. They had seen his struggle, felt his pain, and stood vigil with their own flickering hopes. 

The child who had feared being different had become a young man who celebrated it with every breath. His dreams were bigger than the sky, and they were no longer just his own, but an inspiration to everyone fortunate enough to witness his flight.

Congratulations to my son, my hero, my light in the dark. May you always know the power you hold in your two hands and use it to make the world a better, brighter place. May your story guide others out of the darkness and into their own glorious futures.


  • Leza Warkentin

    I have been living and teaching in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, since the turn of the century. I am a Canadian with a musician-Mexican husband and two Mexican-Canadian patas saladas who are growing up way too fast.

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