“It’s the story of men and women who said to themselves, ‘I might not fulfill my dreams, but if I march, if I stand strong on this bridge, if I endure another night in this jail cell, then maybe my children will fulfill their dreams. Maybe my grandchildren will.”
These are the words that Michelle Obama uttered in a speech back in 2012. The speech was about how progress is made, and highlighted the decades of work it took to make the photo below possible.
In the photo, the President is bent over so a little boy can feel his hair. This is in response to the little boy’s question, “does your hair feel like mine?” All this, in the US White House, a building originally built in part by African American slaves.
Regardless of your feelings about the Obamas, they know a thing or two about how change happens, especially when you consider what the family has been up against– an increasingly divided nation, inadvertent racism, a crumbling economy, and an uncooperative Congress, to name a few.
The First Lady’s point in the speech: change is often slow. It often takes hard work. It can feel discouraging. And in the end, you may not even see the results of what you have worked towards.
But your children will, and their children will, and those after them. Is that not what we’re ultimately doing this for?
It reminds me of a dream I had one. In the dream, I was planting fruit trees with a group of children. In the dream, I knew I would soon leave both the children and the trees and I would never bite into the sun-ripened flesh of those future fruits.
So why then plant the tress? Why do the work when we may never see the end goal?
We plant them for the love of the world, for the love of the knowledge that those branches, small now, will one day bear fruits under a future sky, fruits that someone’s child will sink their eager teeth into.
To hear the full speech, go here:
Or to here a shorter version, visit the Uplifted Exchange Facebook Page.
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