"O Captain, my Captain. Who knows where that comes from? Anybody? Not a clue? It's from a poem by Walt Whitman about Mr. Abraham Lincoln. Now in this class you can either call me Mr. Keating, or if you're slightly more daring, O Captain my Captain."
This dialogue is from Dead Poets Society, a 1989 American teen drama film starring Robin Williams as John Keating who turns out to be a life changer and inspiration for the students at Welton Academy. A man who talked through poetry turns around the lives of his students, teaches them to follow their aims, ambitions and dreams till the end and to pursue what made them happy instead of succumbing to rich elitist and snobby professions their parents wanted them to go in to.
Robin Williams, a man who gave us hope through his work, made our childhoods so much better through Aladdin and other media products. A man who brought smiles to our faces with his words. The very same man at one point felt that he had nothing left to live for. The very same man who taught me to never give up on my dreams and on myself, gave up on his life.
It brings tears to my eyes when I think of that smile this man left behind. How often do we see people smiling their way through life yet fail to understand how they really feel? Why is it that we as individuals are so oblivious to emotions and sufferings around us?
I am here to urge you all to be more compassionate and emphatic, to understand that sometimes you need to go deeper than just phrases such as “I am okay”. A single helping hand can go a long way. Please do not give up on people around you, you never know what an impact one word or one smile can have on those who suffer in silence.