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Just dropping by ... Thank heaven for dreamers

Yevet Tenney for Progressive Dairy Published on 27 November 2019

Cursing the internet for taking too long to download or upload is easy. If it takes a few extra minutes, we are in a panic and do our frustration dance. After all, it is wasting precious minutes of our life.

We must hurry so we won’t miss our favorite show. Even if it is on DVR, we can’t spare a minute. Our car has a dent, and we can’t get a new one for two years, we go into a depression. Curses! Someone forgot to get milk at the grocery store. We’ll have to start the car and let it warm up before we brave the wind’s icy chill as we walk briskly to our car. All these inconveniences were only a dream for our ancestors. We seldom think of those who paved the way for our inconvenience.

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Thomas Edison tried 10,000 times before he perfected the light bulb. He didn’t consider himself a failure; he thought of his attempts as discoveries:

There is not much you do today that doesn’t have some relationship to Thomas Edison. Edison’s 1,093 U.S. patents and 2,332 patents worldwide are responsible for every item that uses electricity as well as the concrete in commercial buildings. He created the motion picture industry, the recording industry, the X-ray machine, and he even created the tattoo pen.

More importantly, he is the father of modern corporate research and development. While many mistakenly think Edison was a better inventor than businessman, he created companies, was a marketing genius, amassed $200 million in wealth (today’s dollars) and changed the world. See 37 Quotes From Thomas Edison That Will Inspire Success.

I don’t know how many times in my life I have used one of Edison’s inventions without even giving a thought to the vision and tenacity it took to give me the convenience. I often wonder what the world would be like if everyone used their brains and worked like Edison. It would be a wonder to behold, but we sometimes find it easier to complain and to wish rather than work and create.

We growl at our smartphone for not picking up a signal or not sending a text. That phone was only a science fiction dream to many of our ancestors. There are those of the rising generation who have never dialed a rotary phone or waited for a neighbor to get off the party-line. There are those who wonder why we had telephone lines stretching across the land. Why didn’t they just use Bluetooth? They wonder why there are telephone booths at convenience stores or in old movies. Technology has been in supersonic mode since Alexander Graham Bell mistakenly invented the telephone:

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Bell’s father, grandfather and brother had all been associated with work on elocution and speech, and both his mother and wife were deaf, profoundly influencing Bell’s life’s work. His research on hearing and speech further led him to experiment with hearing devices, which eventually culminated in Bell being awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone in 1876. Bell considered his invention an intrusion on his real work as a scientist and refused to have a telephone in his study. Many other inventions marked Bell’s later life, including ground-breaking work in optical telecommunications, hydrofoils and aeronautics. Learn more about Alexander Graham Bell

I think even Bell would be amazed at the technology that followed his discovery. We don’t even think twice about dialing a number in Europe or sending a photo around the world. We don’t know how it works, and we often don’t care. We just care if it doesn’t work and when it messes up our schedule. We send pictures and print them almost in one breath. It used to take weeks to get a photo developed, printed and sent to our post office mailbox. Sometimes we even forgot the event before we received the photo. Before the advent of the camera, it was a long wait for an artist to use his or her brush and paints to craft a likeness of our friends and family. Now we have the photo in the blink of an eye. We can safely say, “Bell’s tenacity to help his parents become hearing people changed the world.” I’ve used my cell phone thousands of times and cursed it almost as many, but I am not sure I have really sat down and pondered what the world would be like without Alexander Graham Bell. The world has become so small, and we are neighbors with those who live half a world away. We ought to be rejoicing with every breath at the wonderful miracles we witness every day of our lives, yet so often we complain because we don’t have everything we want here and now.

I don’t know about you, but I have spent a few days complaining about my early model car. Not quite the model T, but close. It had a flat tire! It left me stranded, and I had to use my cell phone to get help. The “idiot lights” came on. (I know that is not the technical term, but that is what I have heard the [dash warning] lights called.) I had to call my husband in the middle of work to find out what it meant. During those times, I didn’t extol the virtues of Henry Ford, who was instrumental in making cars available to middle class America:

Ford … developed and manufactured the first automobile that many middle-class Americans could afford. In doing so, Ford converted the automobile from an expensive curiosity into a practical conveyance that would profoundly impact the landscape of the 20th century. His introduction of the Model T automobile revolutionized transportation and American industry. As the owner of the Ford Motor Company, he became one of the richest and best-known people in the world. He is credited with “Fordism”: mass production of inexpensive goods coupled with high wages for workers. Ford had a global vision, with consumerism as the key to peace. His intense commitment to systematically lowering costs resulted in many technical and business innovations, including a franchise system that put dealerships throughout most of North America and in major cities on six continents. Learn more about Henry Ford.

I should be shouting from the rooftops that I have a car that goes 65 miles an hour on a good day. I don’t have to harness the horses and hitch up the wagon. I don’t have to walk 20 miles a day just to visit my family. I don’t even have to build a fire to keep warm in winter or rest during the day when I cross the desert. I can make it to Phoenix in a short three hours instead of three days. What a magnificent world we live in, but I don’t think I have ever said, “Thank you, Mr. Ford, for your vision and fortitude.” I just complain when my car doesn’t work every time.

We live in the most affluent and magical place in the world where men and women stand on the shoulders of others to create inventions that make life unbelievably easy and convenient. We have freedom to build and dream like no other people in the world – past or present. We sit in our cozy little corners of the nation and bask in our complaints and our wish-we-hads, but don’t take up the hammer or the saw to create a better world. Thank heavens for those few dreamers that believe and achieve.

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Columbus and others braved the unknown rolling waters in wooden boats. Pilgrims stood on the icy shores of a new world and faced untold misery and hardship. Millions of soldiers who died to give us freedom lie beneath the white crosses of memorial cemeteries. They all made it possible for us to become our best selves, to dream dreams and to build a better world.

Isn’t it fitting that we should put away our complaints once in a while and bow our heads to the creator and inspirer of all things, Jesus Christ, and express appreciation for making it possible to have the magnificence and glory with which we are blessed?

Yevet Crandell Tenney is a Christian columnist who loves American values and traditions. She writes about faith, family and freedom.

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