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I have a friend named Monty Roberts who owns a horse ranch. He has let me use his house toput on fund-raising events. The last time I was there he introduced me by saying: “I want to tellyou a story. It all goes back to a story about a young man who was the son of an itineranthorse trainer who would go from stable to stable, race track to race track, farm to farm andranch to ranch, training horses. As a result, the boy’s high school career was continuallyinterrupted. When he was a senior, he was asked to write a paper about what he wanted tobe and do when he grew up.
“That night he wrote a seven-page paper describing his goal of someday owning a horse ranch.He wrote about his dream in great detail and he even drew a diagram of a 200-acre ranch,showing the location of all the buildings, the stables and the track. Then he drew a detailedfloor plan for a 4,000-square-foot house that would sit on a 200-acre dream ranch.
“He put a great deal of his heart into the project and the next day he handed it in to histeacher. Two days later he received his paper back. On the front page was a large red F with anote that read, ‘See me after class.’
“The boy with the dream went to see the teacher after class and asked, ‘Why did I receive anF?’ The teacher said, ‘This is an unrealistic dream for a young boy like you. You have nomoney. You come from an itinerant family. You have no resources . Owning a horse ranchrequires a lot of money. You have to buy the land. You have to pay for the original breedingstock and later you’ll have to pay large stud fees . There’s no way you could ever do it.’ Thenthe teacher added, ‘If you will rewrite this paper with a more realistic goal, I will reconsideryour grade.’
“The boy went home and thought about it long and hard. He asked his father what he shoulddo. His father said, ‘Look, son, you have to make up your own mind on this. However, I think itis a very important decision for you.’ Finally, after a week, the boy turned in the same paper,making no changes at all. He stated, ‘You can keep the F and I’ll keep my dream.’ ”
Monty then turned to the assembled group and said, “I tell you this story because you aresitting in my 4,000-square-foot house in the middle of my 200-acre horse ranch. I still havethat school paper framed over the fireplace.” He added, “The best part of the story is that twoyears ago that same schoolteacher brought 30 kids to camp out on my ranch for a week. Whenthe teacher was leaving, he said, ‘Look, Monty, I can tell you this now. When I was yourteacher, I was something of a dream stealer. During those years I stole a lot of kids’ dreams.Fortunately you had enough gumption not to give up on yours.’ ”
“Don’t let anyone steal your dreams. Follow your heart, no matter what,” Monty at lastconcluded.