Carpe Diem!!

By: Shannon Boatwright

Seize the day and make your lives extraordinary!

The great Robin Williams spoke these incredible words in a brilliant film called “Dead Poets Society.” What a gem that piece of art was and still is. See the short movie clip below of our brilliant and gone-way-too-soon Mr. Williams giving this priceless piece of advice to a group of young men.

I actually use this saying in my middle school drama classes. It serves as a great way for me to hopefully inspire these kids and it helps me gain their attention. The students can be engaged in group work or pre-class chatter and I will yell “Carpe Diem!!!” and they will all respond, with passion, “Seize the Day!!!” It’s quite the empowering, cool experience. As soon as they finish saying the word “day”, the room is completely silent – which creates this really cool vibe in the air, especially after we’ve just yelled something so powerful, in unison.

I show my students the clip from the movie and use it as a way to inspire them to make the most of their time with me and throughout their day. Let’s face it, like Robin says, we will all one day be dead, it’s an inevitable part of life. So why not make the best of life while we’re living it? I encourage them to make a real effort, give everything their best shot. Life is too short to waste it away and be unhappy. Let’s make it count while we have the opportunity.

Now many of us, young students included, often see motivational videos about pursuing your dreams, getting out there and making great things happen – seizing the day! And a lot of these videos feature superstars, Olympic athletes…individuals who are exceptional and seem super-human. In my classes we discuss how these kinds of videos can indeed be very motivating and inspirational, yet it’s not always necessarily what the real world looks like for most of us. We can’t really stop everything we’re doing and go rule and rock the world. It’s just not quite that easy. We have responsibilities, requirements of life. In the real world, it’s not always feasible for anyone, much less a kid, to drop what they’re doing and suddenly reach for the stars, climb the tallest mountains, make a hit record overnight, create cures, or become president. It’s a process, succeeding at life. Seizing it takes hard work and effort. And I can guarantee a lot of us don’t look like visions of superhuman perfection while we’re making that effort. So…I make it a point to explain that when we use “Carpe Diem” in my class, we are using it as a means of gathering focus and reminding ourselves to make our best effort in that moment. Together we seize our day, making the best of the small moments that will lead us to do great things, big and small.

Here’s to making our lives extraordinary!

Carpe Diem!

11 thoughts on “Carpe Diem!!

  1. I love this positivity…Together we seize our day, making the best of the small moments that will lead us to do great things, big and small … and by seizing the day those small moments add up to great memories that build character and a self esteem! Keep on “Carpe Diem”!

  2. Awesome message, Shannon! I have always been a huge Robin Williams fan and miss his influence in the drama world! I hope your students are always inspired to seize the moment, the day, and the time they are given!

  3. Great blog!! Great movie!! What you do with those kids is extraordinary. And they adore you for it. I’ve witnessed it time and again as have many others. You allow them the freedom to create instead of creating for them. You allow them to seize the day in their own way. It’s beautiful!

  4. Great blog Shannon! We all need to be reminded to seize each and every day and be thankful for God’s many blessings.
    Lois Black

  5. Very good reminder Shannon Liz for all of us . “Seizing the Day” could be as simple as being a friend to someone whom ,you see, needs a friend… The words you have written in this blog prove to me that what you learned as a child has grown with you through the years .Being positive has been integral in your life. You’re able to feed this directly into ” life’s stage” as well as into the classroom where you have opportunities as a teacher to inspire and encourage and affect those of all ages. You’re very good at what you do !! I’m proud of you….You seize the day, everyday !!

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