“Why does everyone care when a famous person dies?”

Written on
January 27, 2020
by
Peter Hostrawser

It is Monday, January 27th 2020.  This question was asked in my second period class today.  The young man who asked it seemed frustrated and irritated as he explained he felt that people should care more about their own family.  He had a point.

Kobe Bryant along with his 13 year old daughter and 7 others were tragically killed in a helicopter accident yesterday.  For me personally, I was stunned and saddened by the news.  I am from the Chicago area and am a huge Bulls / Jordan era fan.  I never followed the Lakers when Kobe played for them.  I was still saddened by yesterday.  Deeply.  

I had trouble figuring out why until this young man asked that question.  

I took a deep breath and the words just flowed as I explained why, in my humble opinion, that people get sad when a celebrity dies.  I let him know that I had two close colleagues pass away in the last two months and it reminded me of them and their deaths.  His frustration eased into a slight embarrassment when I explained that.  I let him know it was fine to feel the way he felt.  I let him and the class know that I wondered that very thought yesterday.  I went on to explain that when someone everyone knows passes away, there is a bond that all become connected.  Many people knew who Kobe was, and we have all dealt with death in some way or another.  There is a connection there.  This is why people get upset and mourn.  

He understood what I was saying and wasn’t embarrassed anymore as I helped him feel OK about his thoughts and questions.  We all try to figure out our life and our feelings when bad things happen.  It is natural.  This student challenged me to think about my feelings and I am thankful for that.  I could have just said something like “don’t be so insensitive!” There is no teaching in that statement.  And well.. I’m a teacher.  


“Life is too short to sit around and hold grudges; it doesn’t make any sense to do it.” - Kobe Bryant


Peter Hostrawser
Creator of Disrupt Education
Change Outdated Traditional Educational Systems #Blogger | #KeynoteSpeaker | #Teacher | #Designthinker | #disrupteducation
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