This movie was probably one of Robin William’s best movies, in my humble opinion. In the movie, he played his eccentric self, but in the role of a teacher in a posh private school. He worked with kids that had all sorts of hang-ups and problems. What I loved about his character is how is managed to break through to them on both a group and individual level. That took time, trust, a lot of work, and patience. He did this through totally unconventional means. He worked on building relationship relentlessly.
If you ever taught kids, you probably fall into one of two groups:
1. Those who think outside the box and bend the rules where need be, or
2. Those who believe in following the rules come what may. (In case you were wondering, I fall into the first group. Not that I believe in breaking the rules…it is just that some rules are outdated and not relevant to today’s education environment.)
I think one of the reasons I can relate to kids so well is that I am not the “typical” teacher commanding them to step in line, keep quiet, and beating them emotionally into submission. I teach both groups and individually, but I always try to relate to each student one on one. Every child in my class is my responsibility. I am there to serve them, help them, and teach them. I am there to model what to do and advise them what NOT to do. I am paid to instruct them, but I am responsible to love them.
Robin Williams, true to his own character, played a professor that was zany and crazy to some, but inspiring and encouraging to his students. He taught them to embrace their imagination and not shrink from doing things that others said were weird, crazy, or impossible. He broke the fear factor in his students.
Robin used the term Carpe Diem in the movie. It is Latin for “Seize the Day.” What a great motto for us as parents, educators, adults, and everyone that takes a breath. If we could learn the secret of seizing the day, think of what COULD be accomplished. What barriers would be broken? What opportunities would be embraced? What treaties would be penned? What offences would be forgiven? Etc., etc.
Seize the day should be our mantra every day. We only have a short time on this earth. We need to seize it, live it, and give back. It is not about the getting…it is about growing, learning, and giving back to all those we encounter. It is about us being fully alive. God does not hold us accountable for everyone on the planet, only those he puts in our sphere of influence. That includes your family, your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, and your acquaintances, and your students.
Use your time wisely. We are not promised tomorrow. Carpe Diem.