“In the end, the American dream is not a sprint, or even a marathon, but a relay. Our families don’t always cross the finish line in the span of one generation. But each generation passes on to the next the fruits of their labor.”
If I asked you to define “The American Dream,” what words would you use? Would your definition include something about money, power, and success? Education or culture? Home or vehicle ownership? Or would you define it in terms of life experiences, stability, comfort, or plentitude?
Perhaps each of us has a different idea of what exactly The American Dream consists of, which, let’s be honest, is so American of us! You see, the beauty of living in this country is that we are free to create the American Dream of our choosing.
Though somewhat different for each of us today, the gist of the dream is rooted in hard work and perseverance. Our forefathers envisioned this ideal new country as a place in which people would be given an opportunity to succeed through their own labor and ingenuity. Immigrants often fled to the United States from the entrenched class restrictions of their homelands in hopes of obtaining land and gaining religious and other freedoms.
Over time, the American Dream seems to have transformed into an ideal that relies on people being able to afford all the modern amenities: cars, homes, modern technology, a college education. Today, it is easy to get caught up in the notion that many millionaires find their fortune overnight, that fame often comes with the click of a button, and that wealth is amassed by anyone with a computer and an Internet connection. For many, the American Dream is a far-fetched idea that is becoming harder and harder to obtain.
For this issue of Focus on Artesia, we wanted to take a step back and view the American Dream through the eyes of our founding fathers. Let’s get back to the basics and redefine success so that it includes hard work, determination, joy, and purpose. We wanted to introduce you to people like Margarethe Hotter, an immigrant from Norway who has created a successful life as an engineer in the oil industry; and we wanted to share stories like that of Micah and Brooke Foster, a couple who works tirelessly to provide help and encouragement for troubled youth so that they may one day create their own American Dream. We also wanted to share long-standing stories of business ownership that spans generations, the success of which can be attributed to nothing more than the grit and determination of pioneers like Clyde Guy and J.S. Ward.
If people fear that the American Dream is dead, it is because the concept has changed from the idea that everyone can improve their life through hard work to the idea that everyone can and should become an instant millionaire. The American Dream as first conceived, however, is still possible. Just take a look at the stories in this issue of Focus on Artesia and you’ll see for yourself how alive and well the dream is doing!
– Staci Guy, Editorial Director
ABOUT THE EDITOR
Staci Guy is the editorial director of Focus on Artesia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.