What If

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?

Be Great,


15 thoughts on “What If

  1. Wow Dwight!!
    Your list of “what ifs” are amazingly insightful and inspiring. I am up for the challenge and will be sharing your log with my staff as well.

  2. Thanks for reminding me that I need to remember my purpose here on earth and in teaching. As time goes by, even after experiencing a tragedy, it’s so easy to forget how precious life is and how we should stop and take the time to reflect on the little things we can change in order to help ourselves and our students.

  3. I’ll try several from your personal/family list and use them both at school and home.
    Which ones are you going to try?
    Nice post, Dwight. So sorry for your and Samantha’s loss.

  4. So sorry for the loss of your great nephew! Your “what if’s?” connect to our church service today. The Lutheran churches and many other organizatioons are embarking on a mission to save lives in Africa by contributing to buying mosquito nets for protection against malaria. I didn’t realize malaria was still so life-threatening for many. $10 will save a life by purchasing 1 mosquito net. I decided before reading your blog that I need to give more…but your blog reinforced that idea. I definitely agree with family meals together. Even with busy schedules Jacob, Tim, and I had dinner together at least 5 days a week…looking back now that Jacob is at school, I am grateful we committed to those family dinners.

  5. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. This post was truly a great reminder to me of a messgae I try to remember every day. Thank you for taking the time to write this and being brave enough to share your feelings with us. These words really meant a lot to me and I will come up with a what if of my own.

  6. What a tragic reminder of how precious life is! I am so sorry for your family’s loss of one so young. Your lists include items that are important to include on our journey through life.

  7. I think that our world would be a much better place if we all spent more time acting on your “what if’s.”

  8. Thanks Paige! I’m going to focus on dinner at least twice a week (personal) and confronting behaviors that are counter to our mission, vison, and values (school).

  9. Why a life is taken while another is spared is not a question we can ask, but it certainly has an impact on us and your family kept the faith and handled it in an amazingly positive manner.

  10. Well spoken as always! My thoughts & prayers are with you & your family. I love the “WHAT IF’S”…They are so needed in todays society.

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