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Lessons from Michael Jackson

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Last Friday night, 9 of us as English teachers from all over the world gathered at a huge luxurious karaoke center in Hamano Machi. We occupied a small room with acoustics, television, mikes, soft sofa- like seats and glass tables, with the soul intention of bringing the house down with Michael Jackson’s songs. Further down the hall, all the other rooms were jam packed. My guess is that it’s the bide toilets in the bathrooms that makes this location so popular, the finger licking gourmet hor d'oeuvres on the menu from room service or the cover charge for singing all night with a complimentary drink (rather than by the hour). Allan and I grabbed the mikes and launched off fittingly with, “Man in the Mirror”, and no one else could top that, as we gave it our best shot.

Throughout the evening, we were enriched by our peers, with recollections of the first CD bought, dances they tried to imitate or what they were doing when this or that song was released. You see, our generation grew up with Michael Jackson. He was our icon. His areas of expertise include singer, songwriter, actor, dancer and choreographer. His Guinness Book records include “Most successful entertainer of all time” – 13 Grammys, 13 number 1 singles- in his solo career, and the sale of 750 million records worldwide.

“How did one man achieve all that?” you might ask. Well, he had the support of his family, friends and many fans. What made him so special? In 50 years he lived his life passionately. If he was dancing he did it with all his might. If he was singing, he did the same. He never wanted to follow the crowd, he made exceptional music videos that would have you glued to the television and with his wacky dance moves your entire being was electrified. His songs had catchy tunes and the music was always something that made you want to get up and dance.

Actually, during the last few moments of karaoke when we decided to honour him with a moment of silence during one of his live videos, it was very difficult for some of us to sit still or keep silent – the rhythm just got us. How about you? Are you living your life passionately? How do you want to be remembered?

It’s not the number of years in your life it is the richness/fullness of your life that matters.

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