ETC: Considering a New Dream


There’s lots of talk these days about The American Dream and how it’s “under attack.” There’s lots of talk these days about The American Dream and how it may actually take a different form than homeownership, a steady job (what’s that?) and enough “margin” to charge meals consumed outside the home.

Maybe it’s time to redefine it. I’m thinking about that for my life. What about you?

What happens in life when stuff or its management isn’t so encompassing? What happens in life if I’m actually open to the possibility that what I’ve thought I’ve needed isn’t really that at all? What happens if I start to re-consider all my attitudes toward spending, saving and giving decisions and base those decisions on something or someone other than myself? I don’t know the answer to all those questions but I am starting to see examples of  real live people considering how their lives can be more when they have less.  Let me give you an example.

Through October 20,  our city is taking part in what the Jacksonville Public Library calls The Community Read: Jacksonville Turns a Page Together. It’s an effort to have those interested read a common book. Several years ago, it was Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. This year, it’s The Power of Half: One Family’s Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back by Kevin and Hannah Salwen, a dad and daughter team from the Atlanta area whose book is about their family steps to incorporate radical re-evaluation into their lives.

You’ll be surprised at what they chose to do and then how that impacted the lives of others. In fact, residents can listen to the actual story about how Kevin believes the “power of half” idea can translate in communitywide change. He is a small business expert for Yahoo!, wrote for The Wall Street Journal for 18 years, and is also a writer and entrepreneuer. He will be a guest Thursday, Oct. 20 at the Main Library at 11 a.m. in the Hicks Auditorium. By the way, it’s free, but you should RSVP.

I’m hoping to hear what he has to say and even to take my middle school students to hear him. If you’re interested, see

The whole idea of defining life in different terms intrigues me. What about you? All I know is that for something to change, something has to change.

Profound, I know!




2 thoughts on “ETC: Considering a New Dream

  1. Wow, C, great essay. Your idea is very timely, as I’ve literally (less than 10 minutes ago) finished the challenging book, “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan. He speaks of this very thing–a radical shift in thinking about what our goals should be, what it means to live by faith, and to truly love others and give of ourselves. At the end of the book, he gives example after example of “ordinary” people who took extraordinary steps to make big life changes in order to live radically out of love and faith, and saw God move powerfully in the process.

    One of the quotes in the book that really got to me is from pastor Tim Kizziar, who is quoted saying, “Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”

    Thanks for your post and I’m excited to hear more!


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