I was a shy 9-year-old rural boy from the farm country. Rarely, did we have the opportunity to visit the “big city.” Whenever we did, it was special.
On one sunny Saturday in June, before the summer haying season began, my family and I went to visit my aunt and uncle who had just moved to the north side of Buffalo. On that afternoon, my uncle took me for a brief walk around their neighborhood. He pointed to a set of large stone gray buildings on a low hill in the distance.
One of the large buildings had a clock tower stately erected at the top. Uncle Fred said pointing to the sky line of impressive buildings, "See that hillside over there with all those buildings, that is the University of Buffalo on Main Street. The building with the clock is called Hayes Hall.” I looked with utter awe, and gazed at the impressive sight. My only remark was “Really ... a university?" I knew that a university was something very special. Further, I knew that I probably would never see that sight again. Instinctively, it went through my mind, a university is for really smart kids and rich folks. I just knew that I did not fit into either one of those two categories. I knew too, that to see the university again, would probably need to be in a picture book or in the newspaper.
Time moved on and I so wanted to go to that university. During the ensuing years, dreams began to become reality. I married, and we both became educators and the parents of a son and a daughter.
Exactly 31 years from that time I first saw the university from a distance – again on a bright sunny Saturday afternoon in June – and within the shadows of Hayes Hall with the clock tower in the background, I received the Ed.D. degree. And 28 years after that event, again on a Saturday afternoon in June, our daughter was awarded the MD degree with honors from the same University at Buffalo. To be sure, dreams, hopes, reality are the story of possibility.
You know, in life, so many things are possible even when you think they are impossible to achieve. Hopes and dreams are the steps on the ladder of possibility. Accomplishment can happen by fanning the tiny inner sparks of aspired hope into flames of achievement.
I believe that the slow fuse of possibility is lit by hope, imagination, determination and ambition. You know, to get something you never had, one may need to do something you have never done. I have found that one needs to engage in possibility thinking. Ah yes, possibilities, that is the word.
The truth of the matter is, possibilities are always within reach. You may not be able to develop new skills by osmosis; but every day contains within that day, countless opportunities, all dictated by the choices we make, obstacles notwithstanding.
You know, obstacles and problems are opportunities in work clothes. There is hope to every challenge. One cannot let oneself think that it is impossible just because it has never happened. One needs to have a passion for the moments of possibility. I have found that when a great moment knocks, it is often no louder than a whisper. So I have found, keep your eyes focused on your passion and follow the whispers of your heart, there are many folks in one’s life who contribute generously to those whispers.
To be sure, there are scores of individuals who contribute, perhaps even unknowingly, to the accomplishments of others. This is so true in my life. We are so reminded "The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy." Thanks to so many generous individuals, including my Uncle Fred who, so many years ago, took me for a walk one sunny Saturday afternoon in June.