And One More Thing …

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My plan was to write about education, specifically about children and how they learn. Then I read about Steve Jobs’ death last night.

Even though this man — this visionary man “who made millions of people believe in magic” — had been fighting cancer for eight years, and had recently stepped down as CEO of Apple Inc.,  I was still stunned to by the sad news. He was gone. The king of extraordinary creativity had logged off.

SteveJobsRIP

The immediate tributes to Steve Jobs on Twitter, in the media and online were poignant and special.  I especially appreciated the respectful tribute Apple.com gave to their brilliant leader.

Truth told, I was a little taken aback by how sad I was over the death of someone I didn’t know, someone I never once met. But thinking about it more this morning, I’m getting closer to understanding my — and the world’s — heavy heart. Steve Jobs revolutionized our lives. He changed how we do things, how we view things, how we learn things, and how we think about what’s possible. And now we feel like we’ve lost that flashlight on all the wonderful things lying just ahead of us.

As someone who’s been down with Apple since the ’80s, when I was leaning BASIC (and typing!) on a Macintosh at school, I will miss seeing the man, wearing that iconic combo of black turtleneck and faded jeans, unveiling yet another machine I didn’t know I needed until he showed it to me. But iPhones and iPads and iMacs and iTunes aside, perhaps one of the best things Steve Jobs left us is this message:

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”  ~Steve Jobs, From his Stanford commencement speech, June 2005

I watched the video of this speech last night and instantly felt better, less sad and more determined. (You can watch it in full here.)

So, rest in peace, Steve Jobs. And one more thing … thank you.

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