There once was a boy named Gordon who had never before had a dream. He was eight years old and had never dreamt a single thing. The boy lived in an orphanage and had never met his parents, but he was not overwhelmed one bit. Other orphans cried themselves to sleep, longed to meet their parents, and dreamt of the day they would be adopted by a wonderful family. But not Gordon. He was always saying, “Life is what you make of it.” And, somehow, he truly lived that way. No matter how dark the cloud over his head, no matter how hard it poured, Gordon always wore a smile.
Most of the boys and girls at the orphanage liked to play outside. They loved skipping rope, playing basketball, and countless other things that young children enjoy doing. But Gordon didn’t like to do these things. He just liked to sit in the grass and think. He thought about all sorts of things. Sometimes, he would talk to himself. Other times he just sat quietly. But whenever old Mr. Fredrick came outside, the manager of the orphanage, Gordon wanted to talk to him. The boy liked to ask questions and he loved to learn new things. Mr. Fredrick often came outside just because he liked the random assortment of things that Gordon would prod him about. Sometimes he had the answers and sometimes he didn’t. And that was perfectly okay with Gordon.
At night, all of the boys filed into one bunkroom, and all of the girls headed to theirs. One by one they would nod off to sleep, lost in the land of dreams, both frightful and splendid. But not Gordon. He just slept. And his sleep was dreamless.
Most mornings over breakfast the kids would share their vivid dreams with each other. There were wild stories of far away places and unimaginable creatures. But Gordon never had anything to share. This was perhaps the one thing in all the world that bothered Gordon. So later that day, he asked Mr. Fredrick: “Mr. Fredrick, why do I never dream?”
The old man was taken aback. He was used to questions of all sorts: historical, mathematical, hypothetical, and even whimsical, but this question seemed so deep and so heavy. The look on Gordon’s longing face was also deep and heavy. To such an impossible question the boy wanted an honest-to-goodness answer. Mr. Fredrick did not know what to say.
“Have you never had a dream?” he responded in disbelief.
“Not one,” Gordon shot back.
Mr. Fredrick paused in a moment of profound thought. Eventually, he pondered, “What would you like to dream about?”
Now it was Gordon who did not know how to answer. He had never thought about it before. The other kids dreamt of conquering uncharted jungles and rescuing fair mermaids from dreadful pirates. They dreamt of unicorns and Olympic medals, of superpowers and treasure. But Gordon didn’t want to dream of those things.
“I don’t know what I would like to dream about,” he said dejectedly.
“Aha!” exclaimed Mr. Fredrick. “You see, you must have in mind a dream before that dream can be dreamt!”
Gordon stared at him.
“My boy,” he started, “You must make up your mind as to where your dreams will begin. There exists a marvelous world all within the land of your dreams, but you, and only you, can create it.”
“But where do I start?” Gordon asked.
The wise, old man smiled. “I suggest you start in here,” and he took Gordon’s hand and pressed it against his heart. “This is the place where dreams are formed.” Then he pointed to the mind and said, “This is where we make them come to life.”
And with that, the bell rang to head back inside. Gordon thought about everything that Mr. Fredrick said. He racked his brain to find some small inkling or glimmer worth dreaming about, but nothing seemed to stand out. He went to bed that night and slept another dreamless sleep.
Once again, as usual, the kids swapped dreams over breakfast. Gordon felt more left out than ever. Normally he was able to handle himself, but he simply felt alone. The whole day he mulled over what he could possibly dream about, but nothing ever came.
For days this routine repeated itself. Eventually, Gordon became discouraged. He could not figure out what was wrong with him. Mr. Fredrick tried to cheer him up but it was no use. Gordon was very upset. He became so upset in fact that he would not let himself fall asleep at night. He spent three consecutive nights without a single wink of sleep.
Finally, on the fourth night, he slept. His poor body was so exhausted that he fell into bed like a tree in the forest. His weary eyes closed as soon as his head hit the pillow. And when he slept, his mind soared.
The next morning Gordon was beaming at the breakfast table and he could not hold it in. Before the food even hit the table he shouted, “I had a dream!”
Everyone looked over at him in sheer surprise. “What about?” they asked, delighted to hear from their usually quiet friend. “What did you dream?”
He smiled, “I dreamt that I had a dream.”
They all looked at each other quizzically. But then they remembered their first dreams. Their concerned glances quickly turned into wide grins. They congratulated Gordon and gave him high fives. For they had realized that this was just the beginning. This was dream one of millions of dreams to be dreamt.