One of my favourite stories is about a little boy whose father trained horses for a living. Because of his father's job, the boy's family travelled from town to town, working with different horse owners, never for longer than a year. This meant that the young boy kept being moved from school to school year after year. One day, in yet another high school in yet another town, the boy's teacher gave him an assignment to write about the job he would like to have when he grows up.
The boy spent ages writing a loving description of his dream horse ranch. He described the rolling fields, the apple orchard, the hay barns and stables, the big trucks and strong, gallant, well-trained horses. He even described the people who would work for him, giving them imaginary names and job titles. Finally, he drew a picture to illustrate the three dimensions of his big dream.
His teacher gave him a C-minus and added a short note: “I'll give you an A tomorrow if you rewrite the report and make it more realistic.”
The next day, the boy brought back the same report with no changes, except for a short note of his own at the top: “Keep your A and I'll keep my dream.”
Today, that boy - whose name is Holland Ware - is the owner of one of the biggest ranches in the world, with over 5000 horses and 100,000 cows. The ranch spans about 500,000 acres and has over 1000 oil-producing wells. In 2011, the ranch was valued on the real estate market at over 7 billion dollars.
My friends, dreams are as precious as diamonds and as delicate as eggs. They need careful handling and protection from those who seek to crush them. And believe me, there are many such people in your life. Those who have no dream of their own, those whose dream is for your dream to be shattered, and - the most dangerous of all - those whose own dreams have been shattered.
I remember when I used to travel on "Temporary Boggaship" to England during University long vacations. On one of such trips, my host in London was a "permanent Bogga" with 20 years on the clock. He had spent all those years as a cleaner and had done fairly well for himself, but when I told him I was applying for a job as an assistant manager in a shopping centre, he collapsed with laughter. He stopped laughing when I got the job. In fact, he was suddenly so un-amused, that he threw me out of his flat after my first week in my new job. "Now you are a big man, you can rent your own place", he said.
My dear friends, please remember your unique value and protect yourself from dream vultures who are just out to kill your vision. Let them say what they will. The one way to silence them is to actually achieve that dream, so you see, you have no choice but to succeed.
My name is Kojo Yankson, and my dream is growing too fast and too strong for anyone to kill it.
GOOD MORNING, GHANAFO!