Dead Poet’s Society – A message for all parents!

Dead Poet’s Society – A message for all parents!

Neil Perry, a boy who was so confident, full of life and hope for his future, and a natural leader – kills himself, while naked in his own house – with his parents sleeping in the next room. This haunting scene is portrayed so beautifully that even though you don’t see him actually using the gun, just the sound of the shot gives you goosebumps and leaves you in tears! 

But why did Neil kill himself? He was such a confident person! He had no reasons to end his life, right?

Let’s look into it! 

He was buried under the expectations of the society and his family, but Mr. Keating came into his life and became the force that led him to the light, and directed him towards his passion. He joined the play and he was so engrossed in it – and he was good at it! Yet, he was pushed down by his father. 

While he kept trying to seize the day and walk towards his passion, his father kept pulling him further and further away from it. What happens when you are taken away from something you love? You lose hope. You lose the purpose to live. Some are able to gain the purpose back. Some try to fight for it. Some ask for help. Neil asked for help! 

He wanted to make it work – till the very last moment. He tries to reach out to his father, and when he does not receive the empathetic response, he chooses silence. That became the last straw. He kills himself, because he was not given hope even from the people he needed it the most from – that killed him before he killed himself. This movie revolves around the theme of ‘hopelessness’ that leads to suicide. 

After Neil dies, his parents still don’t believe it is their fault. Although it would have been ideal for the movie to show the parents feeling guilty, it is more realistic to show them blaming the system and the teacher.   

According to the World Health Organization, “Close to 8,00,000 people die due to suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds.” 

This is a huge number. As per WHO’s global data, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds globally. 

There might be varied reasons for youths to die by suicide – we can never estimate what will push someone off the brink to make such a big decision. But, parents have a huge part to play in it. 

Neil was an excellent guy by every means. He was obedient to his parents, he was a good student, he was social, and he was kind. All he wanted was to do what he loved, and be appreciated for it, especially by his parents. When his father came to watch the play, there was a light in his eyes – as though all his desires had come true. He was happy and vibrant. 

All his father had to do was say a few validating statements – 

‘You were good, son!’ or, 

‘I am proud of you.’

‘You are so talented!’ 

It would have taken him five seconds to say any of those statements and he would have made his son happy. However, he chose to put his own desires above his son’s. He didn’t recognize how desperate his son was to get validation from him. 

It was a matter of five seconds! Five seconds that could have saved Neil’s life. 

When you decide to bring a child into the world, you become responsible to nourish them, love them, and help them lead a happy life. Your child is not obligated to live his life fulfilling your expectations. And you have no right to invalidate your child’s talents. Many of the times, parents forget that children are not a business investment. They are humans – with real emotions, that get affected by what they say. 

I know you must be worried about your child. You hear news of a child dying by suicide, and it must scare you. It must give you sleepless nights. It is really simple to prevent your child from taking such a big step. It’s simple – talk to them. Tell them you are there for them. Tell them that you support them and you are proud of them. You don’t have the responsibility to make your child excel – that is their own responsibility. But you are responsible to make sure you are not the one preventing your child from excelling. 

Talk to your children. Tell them you are here to listen. 

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