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Monday, June 20, 2011

Hopes and Dreams

I can´t sleep.  I´ve tried the old iPod trick but I think my three hour nap in the middle of today has kept me up for now.  I currently have "I´ll be" by Edwin McCain on repeat, one of my all-time favorite songs, a song I dream to play at my wedding one day.

Speaking of dreams, it´s what´s keeping me up at the moment.  One of the last messages I want to tell my students before I leave here is to keep dreaming, do what you love, pay attention to what makes you alive, what gets you going, what makes you burn, and when you realize what that is, you will know what you want to do with your life.

Perhaps the greatest gift my experience here in Costa Rica in the past year will give me is my realization of where my own hopes and dreams lie. 

I want to be a father
I remember from September to around December last year, I had seriously began to be open to being open to the idea of priesthood.  I had honest and hard conversations with myself and God in my journal during this time weighing both options.  It came down to a conversation with a priest friend in the states.  He told me, "What do you want to struggle with?" letting me know both are lives of struggle and "What you choose for you is also best for the rest of the world." The two questions came together as I decided I want to struggle with marriage and family life and write about it in an honest way, with the hope I can reach others, especially fathers, who struggle with marriage and family life.  It comes back to my deepest core desire, something I´ve discovered about myself at four years at Catholic: I want to form men to become the men and fathers they´re meant and called to be.  The world cries for better and more fathers and vocation is where the needs of the world and your desires meet.  That is my vocation.  Besides the exciting joys to one day love a wife with everything I have and to raise my own children, I know I can´t fullfill this vocation to preach about fatherhood if I am not struggling with it myself. 

I want to write (best-selling) books.
I´ve written about this before, but I´m going to write a book titled Called To Fatherhood and it´s going to be about the vocation of fatherhood that we men should take more seriously.  I´m going to interview many men I know who have treated it like a vocation and put their input in it along with my meandering experience.

If I have enough courage, I´ll write a fiction book about a Filipino boy who comes of age to be a man, his conversion, his discovery.  I never thought I had an interesting story to tell, but a couple years ago, a close friend of mine told me, "Not many guys have been through what you´ve done."  Actually as I think about it, no one has lived my life but me.  I´ve recently read Kite Runner (a fantastic book, by the way) and it has encouraged me that I should write my own story, an important message I feel hasn´t been told yet, just like the author of that book.

If I get around to it, I have dreamt to write a book for the female world titled How to Get a Guy Without Taking Anything Off, inspired by being with girlfriends who have swept me off my feet without me taking off anything.  My last girlfriend, for example, all we ever did was kiss, with no tongue, and nothing else, hands nowhere else, yet she was the one I loved the most out all of my loves.  How did she do that?  The book is going to be a guy´s perspective about the what men need and want from a girl, the root of their desires, and why I think girls seek boys in their lives for sometimes the wrong reasons, and the what I think is the secret to having a man to love you: finding respect and love for yourself first, a love and respect that comes from God.

I want to teach
The biggest gift Costa Rica and San Francis has given me is my discovery in my love for teaching.  The example of the male teachers with families doing it has wiped away my fear I wouldn´t have enough money to raise a family.  And my discovery that I want to love what I do for the rest of my life is more important than money.  Money will come, and that combination of humble living and trust in God will get me through.  As of right now, I´ve decided my dream job would be to teach English for juniors (like the age group I have now at St. Francis) and I can´t decided yet if I rather teach in a public school like my great alma mater Jordan High in Durham or in all-boys Catholic high school.  I was never bought into the idea of single-sex schools until I read Boys Adrift which opened my eyes to why some boys need schools like these.  Shoot, some teachers (i.e. me) will need a place where they fully feel alive, too.  Plus, it combines my two passions in life: forming boys and English writing.  Pay attention to what you love, right?

I want to create a summer camp for guys
One of my far-reaching dreams, one I´m slightly embarrased to share right now because the idea is under-developed, is to create a summer camp for high school Catholic guys.  It would be five weeks long, and it would be a camp to expose guys to things they should be able to experience---working with their hands, sports, music, cooking, hiking, service, prayer, and a better identity of what it means to be Catholic and a man with talks and activities on discipline, sacrfice, brotherhood, and chastity (ha, and yes, for those of you who know me well, I know it sounds a lot like Esto Vir, but maybe that´s on purpose).  The camp will have volunteer teachers and coaches to help out, also provide ways for fathers of these boys to be involved in an interactive, affirming way.  I was inspired again from that book Boys Adrift , with its message that many boys now are more visual learners than hands on which is not the world needs.  This camp would be a beginning to redeem hands on education. 

I want to record my music
On a lighter note, I picked up my guitar today and played all the secular songs I know.  There´s more than I thought, and I owe a lot of that to playing this year.  I want to record my music, especially my originals, and I´ve contemplated the idea for awhile now of posting them online on YouTube.  I feel when I have the computer that can do this, I will.  So look out for that. 

Well, it´s now been an hour since I´ve been writing this, and I think I´m finally becoming tired.  This post started because I was thinking about how I want my students to dream to be the best version of themselves.  I also believe and try to live on that motivation starts with example.  These are my biggest hopes and dreams.  What are yours?  I hope and pray that we all can become who we´ve dreamed to be.



  1. Matt, awesome post! I can't wait to read your book when you write it! The world today really shows the effects of sons and daughters raised without fathers, or raised with passive fathers.

    I am planning on doing a year of service with a different Franciscan volunteer program (not 100% but pretty sure), and I know that the year will help me to see God's plan/His dreams for me more clearly.

  2. That´s awesome! What program and where? I´m happy for you and thank you for the compliment!

  3. I will be doing CapCorps East, in Cleveland. Good luck with whatever God brings you to next!

  4. That sounds great! Thanks and you too!