“You're only given one little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it.”
This is one of Robin Williams' most famous quotes and it sums up his work perfectly. He made the world laugh in so many ways, on so many days and in any circumstance. His mission seemed to be to help everyone in the world to hold on to that 'little spark of madness'. His spark left us with so many wonderful movies and memories that became part of our lives. He has inspired, motivated and left people rolling on the floor.
Robin Williams' life was not always easy and he struggled with things as we all do. What is remarkable and awe-inspiring is that despite all this, he just wanted to make people laugh and see them happy. His energy on stage when doing stand-up was amazing. The heart and conviction he put into all his movie roles will forever be remembered. Whether you remember the Genie or the English teacher or the crazy radio guy, Robin Williams left a mark on all of us. His words and characters will stay with us throughout our lives. I will turn to movies like Aladdin, Mrs Doubtfire and Night at the Museum when I need to laugh. I will turn to Dead Poets Society, Goodmorning, Vietnam and Patch Adams for inspiration. And if I am really having a bad day, I will find him doing stand-up comedy and giving it his all.
I did not know Robin Williams, but he has left a legacy for the world. A legacy that will live on and that will bring generations to come laughter, tears and inspiration. He has made many of my days better by doing what he did and being who he was.
Rest in Peace, dear Genie
How strange it is that the things that were punishments when I was a kid, should now be my favourite things. Food, sleep and solitude - my happiness in a nutshell.
Hot and comforting. Cold and soothing. Smooth and crunchy. Sweet and sour. Salt and pepper. Creamy everything. I would sell my soul for peppermint crisp, potatoes and carrot cake. Bring the pizza and pasta and I will sing like an Italian. Apricots, bacon, cheese...alphabet of yummy. Pineapple, peaches, grapes, melons and strawberries - full on taste explosions. Don't forget the chicken cordon bleu, creme brule and cherry-topped cupcakes. Even the corn, carrots, spinach and peas. Pies, salads, mashed potatoes and braaivleis. Freshly baked cheese rolls with butter. I love them all. They make me happy...
Fluffy pillows and cozy blankets. Absolute bliss drifting off into a world only I know. They say we need at least 8 hours of sleep - I will by no means argue. Relaxing. Drifting. Dreaming of all the wonderful things that can be. All the things that are beautiful and kind and positive. A few sheep wander past. Flowers and rainbows and rainy days. Rain is the best sleeping companion. Sleep is my blanket for making sense of the world. It is my escape. Sleep is my friend and without my friend I get very grumpy...
Quiet. Stars. Reading. My favourite show. Cooking. Colouring. Music. Raindrops. My cozy pillow. Go to your room! Sure...children don't know what they are missing. Solitude is my therapist. Thoughts run wild. Journal fills up. My soul rejuvenates. People exhaust me. My therapist recommends some time to just be. In solitude I find myself and my dreams and desires. In me it finds the fears and worries and craziness and soaks it up. It heals my soul and clears my mind. It saves me.
A, B, C, 1, 2, 3 and Newton's laws. How to start a business, how to be successful and how to find your purpose. Confidence, kindness and forgiveness. We learn all these things and so much more from teachers.
Teachers...the people that influence how we think, how we feel, how we learn and how we see the world. All of us are teachers at some point. Everyone we meet has the potential of teaching us something. Our teachers range from parents to school teachers, from pets to enemies. Lessons are all around us.
In life: From the moment we we are born, we learn. Everything we encounter; everything we see, feel, smell and hear teaches us something new. School teachers help us learn all the motor skills we need, the caring for others, sharing, to focus, to complete projects. They develop our minds and teach us to reason and question. We also have other teachers: parents, family, friends, pets and bullies. Our parents teach us about right and wrong, to follow a routine, to be safe and that actions have consequences. Our pets teach us about responsibility and unconditional love. Our friends teach us to conform or be individual. They teach us that things can change in the blink of an eye. Bullies teach us to stand up for ourselves, to defend ourselves and to remain strong in the face of adversity. Every person we meet has something too teach. The cool kids, the weirdos, the jocks, the smart kids and the bullies - they all teach us how to be stronger or better or they teach us how we do not want to be. When you think back to your school years, you will remember the nursery teacher who taught you to draw. You will remember the dog you fed and loved with all your heart. You will remember the friends who played in the mud with you and who you shared your lunch with. You will remember the school teacher who engouraged you and taught you to read. You will remember your parents teaching you the ride a bike, to drive a car or taking you to ballet class.All these people were teachers in our lives and they all had an influence on who we are today.
In love: Our relationships - family, friends, lovers and enemies - they teach us about love and loss. Our parents teach us about give and take and about loving each other. Our friends teach us to be there for each other no matter what - to support where needed, to vent and cry and to share our feelings. Lovers teach us that being in love makes you crazy and that one person can change everything. Exes teach us to hate, be angry, cry and pick ourselves up again. They all teach us that time always runs out and that we should spend as much time as we can with those we love.
In labour: We spend most of our lives doing a job to earn money. The workplace teaches us communication, time management, the benefits of caffeine, that 24 hours in a day is never enough. It encourages us to strive for success or be content where we are. For some, it creates the perfect environment to find the inner self that cannot be stopped until success has been achieved. Work teaches us many lessons. It teaches us that everything changes and that some things never change.
In last: School teachers are truly amazing. Despite the fact that they spend most of their working lives moulding our minds and skills and preparing us for the big world, they are often criticised, belittled, yelled at and taken for granted. There are so many things that we would not know if we did not have school teachers. They teach us new things everyday. Everything from math to history, from discipline to fun, and from listening to growing up. They teach us to become ourselves.
All of these people help make us who we are and we should be grateful for all of them. Teachers are angels. Teachers are guardians. Teachers are superheroes.
As children and teenagers we often look at our parents as annoying, frustrating, nagging and pains in our behinds. It often takes some years of maturity to realise that our moms were always right and our dads were just looking out for us. It seems that we must first outgrow our ignorance or self-righteousness before we can appreciate them for the blessing they are.
My parents are truly my biggest blessing in life. They have been married for 34 years and are still going strong. My brothers and I have never lacked love or kindness or food or safety. My parents are not rich and have their share of diffculties, but despite that, they have always provided us with everything we needed and as often as they can, they provide the things we want. We have always had all we needed.
Some of my fondest memories of my childhood are where friends came over to play or swim or sleep-over. My parents are always part of these memories as they were always involved in my life and very kind and inviting to any friends I had. To this day this is still true. Anyone is welcome and greeted warmly into our home and if you stick around for a while, you become part of the family. Even though I no longer live with them, my parents' house will always be my home and I will always return there.
I have always appreciated my parents for who they are and what they have provided for me. It was, however, only in recent years that I realised how truly blessed I am. As I met other people and their parents, I came to the realisation that my parents were perfect for me. I could not imagine any other person or people being my parents. This realisation stemmed from seeing all kinds of parents and working with people from different families varying from homes like mine to homes where the parents barely featured. This brought tears to my eyes and filled my heart with warmth. I had never felt so grateful in my life.
My parents are my heroes; my place of safety; my book of reason; my support; my teachers; my guides; my fall-backs; my examples; my strength and my heart. This remains true even on days when we disagree or annoy each other. They will always be my greatest blessing and my saving grace. I am truly privileged to have them.
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