We hear it every single morning on the P.A. We all stand for about 2 minutes in silence, exposed every now and then to various different versions of it–English, French, ones with voices, ones without, ones that sound nice, ones that don’t.

It seems however that the playing of “O Canada” has become a daily minor inconvenience. Some students fiddle around with their hands and papers, others fidget, others lean on things while changing their leaning surface every little while, and the ones who are late are either rushing to class or staying in place under the watch of a vice-principal. My teacher even lets her students write tests during the anthem, which although gives students more time, is a little disrespectful. Recently, I passed by a student who wasn’t willing to stay in place in the halls during the playing of the anthem, even with a VP’s eye on him.

“Hey! Why didn’t you stand for “O Canada”? When you’re late for class you’re supposed to stand! Why didn’t you?”

The poor guy seemed so startled that he didn’t respond as I was passing by him. Watching it take place, I imagined what I would say in such a situation. Of course, I would talk in a condescending, dignified tone to sound smart and piss off the person. Considering that, I started to really think about those two minutes in the day. And then I realized the number of ways that they can be spent. I realized that two minutes of standing a day would be an amazing time for reflection. Everybody should have something that they think about for only those two minutes, rather than having nothing to do.

For one thing, you can start to appreciate everything around you. You can use those minutes in the day to reflect on all of the luck that you have had in your life. Perhaps a good family, a free country, free healthcare, a good education, food on your table, or simply being alive. Or, you can appreciate the simple beauty of things. You can think about your friends, your teachers, humans in general. You can witness the true beauty of these creatures, or the beauty of life. You can also think perhaps about your family somewhere in some other country. You can think about how those people just woke up or are about to go to sleep, or perhaps are in the middle of their day. You can appreciate technology–think about everything around you that makes life so much easier, and that so many generations never had. You can think about nature; behold the beauty of trees, clouds, birds, the sun, snow, and squirrels.
The possibilities are literally endless: appreciation, reflection, or simply looking at things in a different way. Try it out next time the anthem is played– it’s much more fun than meaningless fidgeting.