To The Man Who Made Us Laugh: Rest In Peace Robin Williams
Opinions, Uncategorized Posted Aug 14, 2014 by chenpr
words and ideas can change the world.”
While watching Shark Week on the Discovery Channel I instinctively checked Facebook on my phone to pass the time during a commercial and immediately saw something that took a great white-sized bite out of my otherwise quiet Monday night: post after post that Robin Williams had committed suicide. I was shocked. Heartbroken. It felt strange to be so upset about the passing of someone I had never met before, but like many of his fans I felt connected to the tragedy.
A beloved friend to those who knew and appreciated his work, Robin Williams meant something different to every generation he touched. To my parents Robin was Mork from Ork and the genius behind this golf stand-up routine. For me Robin was Alan Parrish, Genie, Peter Pan and Mrs. Doubtfire. Later, as I explored more of his cinematic work, Robin became Sean Maguire, Patch Adams and the reincarnation of Adrian Cronauer. No matter the character portrayed, Robin Williams brought laughter, joy, intelligence and sincerity to the screen and made us all feel like he was our friend.
But when I heard of Williams’ death, the character that immediately came to mind was that of John Keating, the English teacher portrayed by Robin Williams in “Dead Poet’s Society.” My memory was flooded with lines like, “O Captain, my Captain!” “Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.” And finally the famous words that introduced this blog post:
“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”
No matter who you are—old or young, rich or poor—it’s easy to feel insignificant in a world that has grown so large and fast-paced. To feel as though your passion and intellect can’t make a difference is all too common. Whether you’re a PR professional, a stay at home mom or a college kid, we should strive to live up to the guidance of John Keating. Knowing and believing in your worth is the first step to accomplishing any goals you’re reaching for, professionally or personally.
As someone who spends every day weaving words to tell a story I have an appreciation for their power. The notion that words and ideas can change the world has helped me to express my thoughts regardless of fear of rejection or criticism. Beyond the characters he played on television and movies, Robin Williams lived a life in which that willingness to express himself without fear gave the world a man who, for 63 years, channeled seemingly boundless energy into bringing others joy.
Despite the way it ended, the lesson of Robin Williams’ life was that, to stifle the brightness of your character is to rob the world of the words and ideas each of us has to offer.
The poignancy of this moment is that life is short and precious and should not be spent biting our tongues but rather expressing ourselves in whatever manner brings us a sense of fulfillment and can inspire those around us, just as Robin Williams did for so many.