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Dead Poets Society is, I think, one of the best films of all time. In his first lesson with

his senior class, the rather eccentric but very inspiring English teacher John Keating,

played by Robin Williams, takes the boys into the foyer outside the classroom where

he asks one lad by the name of Pitts (a rather unfortunate name, Keating muses) to

read out a poem. In an uncertain voice, Pitts reads,

"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may

Old time is still a-flying

And this same flower that smiles today

Tomorrow will be dying."

’Carpe deum’, Keating says to them, ’Seize the day’. Every single one of us is just

food for worms. You may be destined for great things, but you need to take the

opportunity now. Then he leads his class up to the cabinet on the side of the foyer,

filed with old, black and white photos of old boys . What do all these boys, your

illustrious predecessors, have in common?, asks Keating. They’re all fertilising

daffodils. They’re all dead. They were boys with high expectations, high ideals, just

like you. They felt they were invincible, thought that the world was their oyster, just

like you. But did they manage to fulfil even a tiny bit of their potential? Keating

gathers his charges close around the cabinet, telling them to listen to the legacy the

old boys have for them. He whispers from behind them, imitating the ghosts of the

past. "Carpe deum. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary."

This teacher, while he might have been inspiring, while he might have been

funny, had all his priorities out of order. He thought that success in this life was the

most important thing to pursue. He thought that everything ended when we all

became "food for worms", when we all began a new job as daffodil fertilisers. Yet,

despite his problems, one part of John Keating’s message echoes the thoughts of Paul

in 2 Corinthians 6. Seize the day, says Keating, make your lives extraordinary. Seize

the day, says Paul, be reconciled to God.

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