I would like to think that everyone has their own Mr. Keating. This person should have had a tremendous impact on you and pushed you beyond your limits. In Dead Poets Society, Mr. Keating challenges his students intellectually and encourages them to pursue their dreams. He is a vibrant educator; his students soak up every word he speaks. Mr. Keating takes teaching beyond the four walls of a classroom and out of a standard textbook lecture. There are true lessons and life applications for the students to learn, and that is precisely the point for Mr. Keating. His goal was not to teach poetry; his goal was to teach the students the possibilities of life and finding who they really are through poetry.
The hero’s journey was vividly brought to life for me, and it perfectly describes the process of self-discovery. That was the greatest lesson I could have received. As I sat in the lecture, I could not help but think that one day I will be that person setting out to look for myself. I did not know what it would look like or how I would feel or when it would be. The only thing I knew for sure was that it would happen. This journey is a prerequisite for my future. I cannot be successful or have the life I want without taking the first step of my journey.
The Call - The hero has been called into a long journey and must choose to accept a new beginning.
Mr. Keating challenges individualism and brings this to light. Any given person is given the opportunity to meet their new self after complying with the hero’s journey. This renewal of life calls for an in-depth evaluation of the current path, its potential, and how taking a different path could lead to new perspectives. The journey is a choice; the result is a choice. For everything, there are choices, and you must decide for yourself what kind of journey you will take: a heroic journey or an ordinary journey.
The Threshold - The hero is now well on their way in the journey and crosses from one world to another.
For true and genuine reflections to happen, the hero must be completely removed from normalcy and comfort. This removal of old allows for the new to overcome the soul. New pieces of you will be uncovered and revealed at each place along the journey. Exploration of far-away places is the ultimate journey. Being scared and excited, all the same, is the best feeling to me because I know I am in for a life-altering adventure. I learned it was okay to have these feelings and that those apprehensions should never stand in the way of finding myself.
The Test - The hero is faced with many trials and challenges that may distract from their journey, but they will always find their way back to what is important.
Challenges will arise, but there is certainly a purpose. There are going to be bumps and turns along the journey. Lessons and tasks can be found in anything if you look hard enough and want the change bad enough. Life is one big test. Physical tests make you stronger, and mental tests make you smarter. Even if you stray away from your journey because you think it has become too tough or decide it is not what you want, your inner desire will bring you back to the journey that matters the most.
The Atonement - The hero realizes they are at one with who they are and accepts their journey. At this point, you can feel content with the new person you have become.
The journey may come to a close, but the transformation has only begun. The work is not over; maintaining the life change and deciding how to use this new life will continue on. Once the journey has a closing seal placed on it, you must utilize the new perspectives and experiences. While this journey is complete, the possibility of another one waiting for you in the future could be holding the next chapter of your story.
Although Mr. Keating did not explicitly use this model to teach his students about becoming an individual or following their hearts, I think the principle is there. Mr. Keating instills in his students to break the mold and live life to their own beat. And I think that is a lesson we should all consider. In a society where rules always apply and laws dictate right from wrong, being edgy and creative is considered being eccentric, rather than simply being an individual. Living by society’s expectations is not really living; it is going through the motions. It can be hard to break away from that habit, but being different in a sea of sameness allows for excitement and exploration.
Mine taught me to learn. Mine taught me to explore. Mine taught me to be curious. I have a great appreciation for my Mr. Keating.
©Inquisitive Perspectives 2016