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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Celebrate Life With a “Standing O”

In this season of my life (I turned 65 in January) I'm sobered by the far too frequent experience of losing one of my friends and contemporaries. While I know this is the nature of life, I do have a thought on how we participate in this inevitable occurrence.

When we lose a friend and/or loved one, we pause to reflect on their life, we mourn the loss of their presence in our own lives, we gather to celebrate their lives and to more formally say good-bye. This is a well-rooted and time-honored tradition in human history. This series of small goodbyes serves as a vehicle to grieve our loss and to wrestle with closure; such is the nature of ritual and ceremony.

Well, perhaps it's my feeling of overload with losing too many great friends and family members lately, or perhaps it is the reality of facing my own mortality, but I have come to hold a profound wish that those we have lost could be present for their celebrations of life and hear the outpouring of tributes, love and celebration on their behalf. I wish, I hope that they knew how much they were loved, how deeply they will be missed.

In my work with young people for over 40 years, I love finding an authentic opportunity to give every young person an earned "standing ovation." I have seen what it means to them and, frankly, every human being that has had a "standing O" seems at first surprised, but ultimately appreciative and even slightly humbled.

In a very modest, yet mysteriously potent way, Lifeplan represents a vital asset in acknowledging the uniqueness and special qualities of each and every young person. By inviting young people to express their dreams and helping them build a game plan to realize these dreams, it is much like giving them a "standing O." It is saying to them, "You count, your dream is really important, and we are going to help you succeed!"

I'm going to continue to wish we could do a celebration of life for everyone we care about while they are still with us on the earth, that they can be present for to enjoy and soak up. But I am also am committed to moving way upstream to help make it possible to celebrate every young person by helping them grow their own Lifeplan!

All the best,



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