Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lessons from 9/11....What if tomorrow never comes?

We all paused and then I said: You are right. We should all try to live our lives as though next Saturday is never going to come.

That was the answer that I gave a fifth grade student when he responded to a question that I had just asked my entire class.

Past, present and the future

Part of everyone's life disintegrated when we saw the images of those planes hit New York's Twin Towers on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

My former supervisor Gale and I were in charge of telling key personnel in our company about the tragedy and how we planned to precede. Gale's example showed me how to handle those moments with seasoned professionalism and human compassion.

Working in the business world for fifteen years allowed me to develop a certain view of reality. As time passed, I decided to change course and enter the field of education.

I have worked as an elementary school teacher for the past six years. I fully value all of my students and all of their families. Without them, I would not have my job.

What if ...

There are clarifying moments in life when someone says something that instantly shakes your mind.

One question that I regularly ask my students is this: Why not just live your life in whatever way that you want to all week long?

When each Saturday arrives, all you need to do is think about the good things you did, improve upon your indifferent actions and apologize to anyone you may have wronged. Then, when Sunday comes, just start over again.

One of my students responded to this question in a way that no one else ever did. He said, “Mr. O'Brien, what if Saturday never comes? What if you die in the meantime?”

Students are actually the best teachers in any school.

Beyond time

I believe that everyone in the country and in the world was changed in some way by September 11, 2001.

That historic event occurred on a Tuesday. So, Saturday never came for those lost souls.

Those of us who are still alive need to try and live each day as though next Saturday will never come.

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