Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dead Poet's Society: A Reaction

The first time I saw this movie was way back in college when my professor in literature required us to analyze it using some literary approaches. I never forgot the movie since then not because of its handsome actors but because of it's impact on me as an education student back then.

The story is about the influence of an eccentric English teacher, John Keating (Robin Williams) towards his students at Welton Academy, an all-boys preparatory school that still imposes pragmatic education. Keating introduces his students to poetry, and his free-thinking attitude and the liberating philosophies of the authors he introduces to his class have a profound effect on his students, especially Todd, who would like to be a writer; Neil, who dreams of being an actor, despite the objections of his father; Knox, a hopeless romantic; Steven, an intellectual who learns to use his heart as well as his head; Charlie, who begins to lose his blasé attitude; unconventional Gerard; and practical Richard. Keating urges his students to seize the day and live their lives boldly; but when this philosophy leads to an unexpected tragedy, headmaster Mr. Nolan fires Keating, and his students leap to his defense.

After watching the movie, I wondered how many teachers are applying the teaching methods that Keating employs. And if they do employ such methods, will the students in our country be as responsive and as imaginative as the students he had. On a personal note, I even asked myself whether, to some degree, I resemble Keating's attitude towards teaching and life. Nonetheless, what's important is, I know for sure that I give my best and I try to inspire my students to become better individuals. I may not have Keating's unconventional approach to teaching but I have his view in life - to make every moment count...Carpe Diem! (Seize the day!)

Moreover, I particularly like one line from the movie "We are food for worms…every one of us is going to stop breathing, turn cold and die”.This implies that life is short. And since it is short, we have to live it to the fullest and we must make our lives extraordinary by leaving a lasting legacy to other people. After all, teaching is not merely teaching literally but inspiring students to explore their potentials and use it to inspire others as well.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Ripple of Difference

Leo Buscaglia's video is what I call "concisely rich" because in just a matter of minutes he was able to encapsulate all the great thoughts that make people, specially me, ponder about the shortness and importance of life and how to make every single waking hour matter by making a difference.

The following are the best quotes from his talk that hit me. Following each quote is my brief explanation/reaction.

“You alone can bring magic ( humor, and joy) to the people you encounter.”
Every day we meet a variety of people from all walks of life and each of them has as much (if not more) concerns, pains, worries, joys, and triumphs as we have. Hence, we cannot constantly wait on them to bring magic to our life. It would be better if we make the first move by smiling at them, giving a polite remark, or by simply offering or spending time to listen to them. The spark we may be able to create in them might return back to us. If it won't then at least we are certain that it will ripple to someone else.

“Anything you dream, by the very nature that you can dream it, makes it possible.”
I firmly believe in this thought as it is supported by the "law of attraction" imparted by the book "The Secret". Hence, we always get what we confess. Everything that happens in our life is a product of our domina
nt thoughts. Therefore, it's better to constantly be optimistic so our lives would be enriched.

“The purpose of life is to help others. And if you can't help them, would you at least not hurt them?"
We were created by God in His image and likeness. As such, we are expected to do more good things than bad ones. We always fe
el lighter if we are able to help others in whatever small ways we can...and if we can't then we have no right to hurt them.

“The greatest risk in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing and is nothing.”
I think life always involves taking risks and if we are afraid to take risks we will definitely not know what great things await us. Yes, we may stumble along the way but these stumbling blocks will sharpen us, help us grow, make us more mature and enable us to seek better opportunities.

“To be is to do - and to do is to do now, because tomorrow might not be there.”
The future is absolutely not in our hands and we perfectly do not know what lies ahead so we must seize every opportunity we have and make every moment count. Live each day as if it's our last - in this manner,
we are able to love and care deeply and give the best performance each day.

“The time for action is now - and only YOU can make the difference.”
We cannot put off for tomorrow what we can do today or wait for another time to come to do something worthwhile because, again, tomorrow might not be there for us. What I am and the simplest thing I can give to and do for others are things that may somehow make a difference in their lives. I s
hould not think that because I am just a speck in this universe, I cannot do anything. I should therefore believe that in my simplicity, I am still unique, therefore I can still make a difference.

The bottom line of everything is, how we act and think has a rippling effect. Hence, despite our imperfections, we must try our best to create a ripple of magic, a ripple of positive thoughts, and and a ripple of difference.

The Story of Rose

One of the most inspiring stories i have read is "The Story of Rose" which tells of a woman who never allowed anything (her age for that matter) to keep her from chasing and fulfilling her dream - to get a college education - thus inspiring thousands to "grow up rather than to grow old".

The story was written very simply and the lessons it teaches are also about simple things which defines the life we make and live. As Rose said "you have to dream for when you lose your dream you die". Our dreams or desires are our life's steering wheel. It directs us. It keeps us alive. These dreams push us to exhaust all our means to have them fulfilled.

"We do not stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing" is one of my favorite lines as it made me brood over and simply nod in agreement. Indeed there are people (including me at times) who are caught up with the big or small stresses in life, who are too busy working to store up wealth, and who are too concerned about other stuff that they fail to enjoy life's minute details. They are unable to recognize the things which are more important. Life is better if we take time to pause and enjoy the moment with our kids, family and friends. Life is definitely better if we look at the brighter side of things, and pause and laugh our hearts out despite the ordeals we go through. Anyway, these ordeals teach us to stand and learn and eventually grow up. Certainly we will never grow if we constantly sulk and regret and dwell on the past.

Living a fulfilled and meaningful life undeniably means we have to face some humps and bumps along the way. What matters is what we do after going through those humps and bumps. Are we going to stand and move forward or wait for someone to come by and pick us up?