Focus more on the bigger things in life

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 18, 2012

Of all the lessons I’ve learned, I treasure most the ones I was taught by children, both mine and the precious lives I was privileged to teach. Please allow me to revisit one of my favorites.

A first-grade student approached me at lunch with a rare look of concern. “Mrs. Michel, Taylor put something into my head, and I can’t get it out. She told me that all of this is just a dream. Am I really dreaming right now?”

“No, Alicia,” I replied, “this is not a dream.” She was not comforted and continued to worry.

“But what if all of this is a dream? What if we are just dreaming right now?”

“Pinch yourself. If we’re still here, it’s not a dream. If it is a dream, you will wake up in your bed.”

“But I can’t get it out of my head that this is all a dream,” she said.  

If Taylor is that convincing, I’m going to let her teach math, I thought.

If Alicia had been a little older, I would have told her, “No, Alicia, this life is not a dream, but according to Psalm 39:5, life is a vapor, or a breath. On a cold day, you can see your breath, but it only lasts for a moment. In comparison to eternity, your life is like that breath.”

I truly do not spend a large portion of my day thinking about the brevity of life. However, the recent death of Whitney Houston caused me to stop everything I was doing and ponder upon the tragic end of this gifted young woman. I allowed myself to reflect upon a few decisions I had to make and the manner in which I was spending my time.

Considering our brief lifespan, we should focus more on things that will last and less on trivial arguments or amassing material possessions for people to fight over. It’s the lives we touch, the memories we create and the legacy we leave that will continue to live on.

Ronny may be reached at