My daughter Brett teases me for putting “movies that matter” on the Netflix queue. Though my husband and I do watch our fair share of romantic comedies, espionage, and intrigue, for the most part I prefer movies with a message—such as Dead Poets Society. (Dave, God bless him, has grown used to my purposeful proclivities and, thankfully, is truly enjoying this little hobby of mine.)
Carpe diem!!! — the mantra of English teacher John Keating (played by Robin Williams). Slowly but surely, under his inspired tutelage, “Seize the Day!” permeates the souls of several (not all…) of his students. As these teen-aged boys dare to discern and manifest who they truly are in the world, amazing things happen. Verse bursts forth. True love is expressed. Passions are pursued. But, inevitably, tragedy ensues. A poet dies.
An investigation by school administrators seeks to exonerate the exclusive prep school and pin the blame entirely on the shoulders of Mr. Keating, the unconventional “change agent” who defies tradition by encouraging students to call forth and express their true purpose and inborn passions. Hmmmm. Who is responsible for the tragic fate of Neil Perry? Mr. Keating? Really?
My heart aches for the myriad lives that the fictional Neil Perry represents. I wonder…
What can we do to ensure that we, and those whom we love and influence, make the difference we’re meant to make?
If you have ever been tempted to direct your children, your students, yourself (your pet!) down a path that was not a natural fit, I urge you to reconsider.
We are each born with a unique purpose to fulfill in life. Only by living out that true purpose (rather than struggling to live a purpose imposed upon us by ourselves or others), do we experience meaning, significance, and joy.
I dedicate this post to my daughters Rebecca, Jana, and Brett Beeson. Yes, girls, you make me very, very proud. Go forth and seize the day!!
Photo by Flickr (Kim)