I recently had to attend the funeral of my wife’s two month old great-nephew. The funeral was in Georgia, which is about a 10 hour trip from Ohio by car, so I had a lot of time to think. As I observed two 26 year old parents mourn the sudden and tragic passing of their son, I couldn’t help but think about how much we take life for granted. We get caught up on what we don’t have or who has more. We, at times, focus on the things that divide us as opposed to what draws us closer together. As life happens we start to run on autopilot until we are interrupted by a tragedy. What if we were more aware of our coasting by asking ourselves several “what if” questions?
What if we took five minutes to pray every day?
What if families had breakfast or dinner together at least twice a week?
What if we exercised for 30 minutes every day?
What if we watched less TV and read, wrote, and talked with others more?
What if we spent less money and gave more?
What If we gave 12 hugs a day?
What if we genuinely complimented at least 5 people a day?
What if we choose to learn from failure?
What if we forgave more often and extend the grace we too often are given?
What if we choice one day a week to turn off our mobile devices, desktops, and TVs?
What if we create a bucket list and actually did it?
What if we weren’t afraid?
What if every staff member believed all students can learn at high levels?
What if schools truly focused on learning for all?
What if every student felt like they belonged?
What if every parent felt like they had a partnership with their child’s teachers?
What if principals truly made classroom visits and visibility a daily priority?
What if principals weren’t afraid to confront behaviors that are counter to the school vision, mission, and values?
What if, for one night a week, there was no homework assigned?
What if the senior year was truly relevant?
What if teachers were inspired to work in your school?
What if students were passionate about learning in your class?
What if students were given the chance to recover from an academic failure?
I can’t help but to think about the words spoken by the 2 month old’s mother as she courageously addressed the guests at the funeral: “Even though he wasn’t with us long, he brought so much peace to this family and brought us all together. I hurt, but I can’t help but to be happy for what he has done for this family.”
Her words caused many emotions to flood my system, and with the emotions came time to reflect upon the many questions I’ve posed in this post. Before another moment ticks by, before another life is lost, allow yourself to question, “what if?” What are we going to do with the time we have? What if we picked just two questions from each list and took time to apply them to our lives? Imagine what a significant impact you would have on others. Let’s keep this going. What questions do you think should be on the list?