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  • Reverend James Squire

Childhood Dreams

There has been a lot of positive press about the recent space travel of Mr. Branson. He was thrilled to realize his childhood dream which cost the billionaire quite a bit of money. I am all for people achieving their childhood dreams. In fact, I have spent a great deal of my life helping young people to do just that. Mr. Branson described the flight in glowing terms including the view and what it was like to experience weightlessness. He was ecstatic!

Mr. Bezos is up next with a similar dream, and, like Branson, the billionaire has put a ton of money into making his dream come true as well.

They both are hoping that this is the beginning of another market so they hope to get the price down below the present $200,000 proposed cost per person for future travel. Let’s not confuse what they are doing with the various NASA programs that were there to benefit the rest of us as NASA sought greater understanding of the solar system in which we live.

I probably would have been OK with the recent flight if it weren’t for at least two countries that have come into the news recently. One is Madagascar and the other is Haiti. Madagascar’s children are dying in record numbers. Leaders of food for the world agencies have never seen anything like what is happening there. Both funds and food are needed for that reason. Haiti has the hungry at record proportions as well. Not one person in Haiti, regarded by many as the poorest nation in the world, has been vaccinated.

How different my reaction would have been if these two people who wanted to fill their childhood dreams focused on the childhood dreams of the people in these two countries. Easy to do. Whatever they spent on their respective space flights could be a matching gift to these two countries. Making the childhood dreams possible of these children to honor them as they achieve their dreams.

That would be noble. Their space travel is not.

It reminds me of a memorable lunch that I had with three devout Roman Catholic women before I left for a trip to Rome. They shocked me! They asked if I was going to the Vatican, and of course that was on the itinerary. All at once, they said, “We are not giving another cent to the Church. They left it at that. They had made their point yet I didn’t fully understand what they were getting at.

My family and I made our way through the various rooms of the Vatican. I have never been to Fort Knox, but I had never seen so much wealth in one place. It seemed that the Vatican had a corner on the gold market. The guide relished in the opportunity to explain in detail that the total wealth contained there was incalculable.

When we left, I understood completely what my three friends had proclaimed to me. As far as I could tell, and the guide supported the perception, the wealth just sits there. My thinking was going to that place where I was sure that you could solve world hunger if you just sold or borrowed against a corner of one room. Now I know what my three women friends meant. I wonder if they have the same attitude about Branson and Bezos.

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