If I ran the world…

…just my little corner of it, many things would be different. Of course I have big dreams of world peace, like many people do, but if we can’t even have peace within ourselves, how can we have peace in the world at large? No. If I ran the world, things would be different.

My parents would have been madly in love. No one would have ever been hit in anger or frustration. They would have loved us so hard that they couldn’t imagine doing anything more than grabbing us up in bear hugs! They would have fostered our imaginations and our dreams, because they would have been living their own. Dad would have been playing on the regular as a guitarist with touring bands and in studio sessions. His drinking problem would not have existed. He would have always had a smile on his face because he was doing what he loved.

Mom would have gone to school and gotten her nursing degree. She would have spent long days caring for people who needed her, and she would have come home feeling happy and accomplished. Sure, her back would have hurt and her feet would drop into a tub of warm water and Epsom salts at the end of the day, but she would have been peaceful. Dad would have rubbed her feet when he was home and would have sung sweet songs to her, lulling her into a drowse.

My eldest brother would not have died shortly after birth. He would have grown tall and strong, following my dad into the music industry as a producer. He would have had those beautiful blue eyes like Dad and would have had a winning smile that the women couldn’t resist.

My next eldest brother would have gone to college instead of the Air Force, where he would have learned electrical engineering. He would have developed the first microchip and made millions, employing thousands of people as he continued to think big thoughts and dream as wide as the sky. He would be living a healthy older life, traveling the world.

My elder sister would have followed him to college two years later and would have double-majored in physical education and architecture. She would have designed amazing homes and developed new exercise regimens that were used to train world-class athletes. Her boundless energy would never have failed her, and she would have had a second home in Paris with a view of the Eiffel Tower.

My other brother would have been an Olympic gymnast, amazing audiences around the world with his precision techniques. Afterward, he would have completed his degree in mechanical engineering, designing all those planes he dreamed about and drew on graph paper. He would also have set up gymnasiums around the country where future Olympic athletes were trained, using some of the techniques developed by our sister. His name would have been synonymous with strength and drive. He would have been Elon Musk before Elon Musk was a glimmer in his father’s eye.

Our younger sister would have been healthy from birth and would have become a dancer, lithe and graceful. She would have had a career as a teacher and forward thinker in the world of modern dance. She would have spoken four languages and written many books. She would have raised a six-pack of sons.

I would have finished that first novel in junior high, and then would have gone on to complete the Broadway play I started writing in high school. I would have taken singing lessons and would have continued my piano lessons, going on to double-major in drama and music at Auburn. Money for college would not have been an issue, nor would I have left home at 16. I would have had my grandfather around long enough to learn to play boogie-woogie and ragtime on the piano as he did. I would have been asked to perform at the Grammys, would have won the Pulitzer, and would have gotten three Tony awards for my plays.

My daughter would still be alive and would be playing bass with a neo-punk band. She would still have foregone her higher education, because she would have found her passion. In her spare time, she would have painted pictures that evoked deep emotions and analysis. She would have married Nick and would have looked forward to an amazing life with him.

And Sean. Sean would believe in himself more and would know without a doubt that he could accomplish anything. He’s close on that, but I think the fear and anxiety is passed down through the DNA. He does know, without a doubt, that I love him unconditionally and that I believe in him one hundred percent.

If I ran the world, we would have all dreamed our big dreams and followed them to fruition. Love would be our birthright. We would have known we could not fail. We would not have gone on to live mediocre lives in the grind of the ordinary workplace, diminished by the health problems that came with it. And we would have known, without a doubt, that we were loved unconditionally and that we were believed in by our parents.

That’s just how it would be, if I ran the world.

I say to you – foster the dreams your children have. Love them. Let them have their imagination. Let them believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. Don’t ever tell them something is impossible (unless they want to be a giraffe). Never, never say, “Life is hard. Get used to it.” Never say, “Stop dreaming. You’ll go to college and get a job, like your father” or worse. NEVER say, “You’ll never amount to anything.” Kids hear you, and they believe you. Think before you speak. Think before you act. Love your kids. They are entrusted to you by God. The things you say today will echo in their minds for the rest of their lives. Make sure those echoes are pleasant ones.

~Jude

Footnote: None of these ideas are far from what each of us truly could have become, had we had the faith of our parents and the room to imagine and grow. Each of us had the talent and ambition to do these things, but we were trying to survive and then run away as soon as we could. Here, I have simply imagined what if.

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