Can You Make Your Dreams Come True?

Eric Frederick |

The 10-year-old boy, blond and freckle-faced, carefully watched his grandfather pull weeds from the vegetable garden. “Grandpa, how important are dreams?” the boy asked. “I mean, do they just happen at night, or do they tell us things that are going to happen?”
The man began a tale about three brothers, Matt, George and Paul.
Matt, the eldest, dreamed of becoming wealthy and owning many lands. His dreams were so vivid, he was sure they would come true. So, he waited for something to happen that would make him rich. As time passed, he ignored the advice of friends and family and vowed to wait as long as it took. Eventually, Matt had to take a low-paying job just to make ends meet. His dream never came true.
The middle brother, George, dreamed he would become a great explorer who sought out new, bountiful lands. He always kept his eyes and ears open for opportunities to follow his dream. George sat in the local tavern and listened to travelers weave their tales, then hurried home to record the stories as best he could.
He eventually signed on with a merchant taking goods to a foreign land. George enjoyed his time abroad and saw much of the known world but he never got the opportunity to truly explore and discover new lands.
Paul, the youngest, dreamed of becoming a successful farmer. His dream was just as strong as Matt’s or George’s, but Paul knew he had to have a plan to make his dream come true.
There were a number of farms within a day’s walk of his family’s small farm. Some were productive, and some were not. Most farmers were delighted to share their expertise with anyone who asked, so Paul routinely sought advice from the best farmers he could find.
By applying the knowledge he’d gained, he soon doubled the output of his family’s farm. This gave him crops he could sell at market. He then purchased strange, new plants from foreign lands. He planted them carefully and took notes on what stimulated their growth. These new crops were a big hit at the local market.
Paul then bought more land next to his own and applied all that he had learned to growing crops there. He soon realized that if he was to continue to grow, he needed to learn how to manage money and people. So, off to the lenders he went for advice on how to manage money. He also spent time with those who oversaw the work of others.
He prospered, and his farms and wealth grew. He became known as one of the smartest, most successful men in the area. When a young boy asked how he became famous, Paul said, “I had a dream and I wanted it to come true. So, I did everything I could to make it happen. I talked with knowledgeable people and determined what I needed to learn to make the dream become reality. At every step along the way, I stopped and reviewed my progress. I determined what skills I needed to continue moving forward. I knew that I didn’t have all the answers, but I also knew they were available to anyone who actively sought them out.”
The grandfather mopped his brow and looked at his grandson. “So, lad, what have you learned about dreams?”
“They can lead us into the future if we let them,” the boy replied, “but the future will only be what we create. Dreams can become reality only through hard work and careful planning. If I want my dreams to come true, then I must be willing to do the things that Paul did.”
I wrote this parable for my grandchildren in hopes of passing on a little of my experience in a way that’s relevant no matter where their dreams might take them. And it’s relevant to our industry, too.
There are many opportunities for training through one of the trade associations, and they often include a visit to an operational laundry. By getting out and meeting other managers, we develop a network of colleagues with whom to share ideas. The Internet has greatly expanded the ability to share ideas and ask questions.
If we are to succeed and make our dreams become reality, we must follow Paul’s example and actively grow our abilities to meet the challenges found on the next step of our journey.

About the author

Eric Frederick

Carilion Laundry Service

Director of Laundry Services

Eric Frederick is director of laundry services for Carilion Laundry Service, Roanoke, Va., and past president of the National Association of Institutional Linen Management (NAILM), now called the Association for Linen Management (ALM). He’s a two-time association manager of the year. You can reach him by e-mail at


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