Introduction Have Passion. Dream. Work for the Joy, Not the Check.
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The Neighbor Sonny was a quiet-spoken, gentle neighbor of mine, born and raised in Staunton. He spent 20 years of his life as a soldier in the U. S. Army. His military career included the Korean War. After retiring from military service, he returned to Staunton seeking employment and got a job working in a local gift store as a wrapper. For the next 28 years he spent eight hours a day in a cramped attic loft wrapping presents and tying bows. At age 65 he retired to a small apartment where, three years later, he died. Often, we would sit in Sonny’s backyard and talk. I found his stories compelling. He would tell me about his dreams of traveling and seeing the world; about his wish to see how other people lived. During his time in the Army, he had few of these adventures, and when he returned home, he felt lucky to get the job at the gift shop. He never thought his talents and abilities could take him beyond wrapping boxes and tying bows. Sonny never got past his mountain. Some young people I have met are much like my gentle friend. They have low expectations and think they have no talent with which to dream and succeed. Sadly, their families, and sometimes their teachers, offered them little encouragement to dream and to strive for something better. Even worse, they are told to quit daydreaming and to face reality. Sonny’s daydreaming never went further than a lawn chair in his backyard. His fun was never realized. How far have your daydreams taken you and how much fun are you having? Magic Carpet Ride Well, you don't know what we can find Why don't you come with me little girl On a magic carpet ride You don't know what we can see Why don't you tell your dreams to me Fantasy will set you free Close your eyes girl, look inside girl Let the sound take you away                                            Steppenwolf, 1968 Yes, things have changed from when I was 26. Many of the opportunities afforded me as a young man no longer exist. The music certainly has changed and so has the job market. But new challenges and opportunities are happening all the time. The music and styles might be different, but there are people today who are following their dreams like I did 50 years ago, and are having fun working in the best jobs of their lives. There is Gray, a former student, hired as a manager straight out of college by the largest microprocessor company in the world. His passion is nanotechnology. He volunteered as a paramedic while in college and now works with the youth ministry in his church. He owns his own home, enjoys mountain biking, and bakes a mean apple pie. His passion for being the best at whatever he does equals his need to constantly learn new things and to help others.  Wendy was the most creative and dynamic daycare teacher I have ever met. She worked for years to get her doctorate, and, as a teacher, tried her best to conform to the uninspiring lesson plans of a prestigious but arcane private high school. She never gave up and is now working in the greatest job of her life as an educational consultant. She travels the world, has the time to spend with her husband and daughter, and is having the time of her life. Her passion for teaching has never wained and now her pupils pay her handsomely for her wisdom and knowledge. Erin was a technology and art teacher whose creativity and “unorthodox” (not by the book) teaching methods were too much for her stoic and traditional principals. She never gave up but always did the best she could, every day. She now is working in the best job of her life teaching art to prisoners in a state penitentiary. She receives the respect of her students and managers, sees real accomplishment among her captive artists, and no longer sees her work as a job. She has found her passion. She and her husband have a new baby girl, and designed and built their own country home. They are living life to the fullest. I have mentioned only three of many people I know who are working for the joy, not the check. They span two generations and come from a variety of backgrounds. Yet, they are very much the same where it counts. They work very hard at being the best they can be, and they have a passion for what they do and how they affect others. Finally, they never give up. So that is what this website is about. For you dreamers and for those afraid to dream. here are stories of the opportunities given to me and others. This website is about what anyone can do when they take some chances, work hard at whatever they do, and try not to judge people and opportunities before they know and experience them. Throughout these pages I will try to show you how it is still possible to follow your dream. And maybe, just maybe, I can help you find that path that takes you on your magic carpet ride.