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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Lifeplan at Mount Tamalpais School

This is the fourth year I have had the privilege to work with the 8th Grade students at Mount Tamalpais School to help them learn how to navigate the Lifeplan program.

Each class has been unique with a class personality each its own cultivated throughout the 9 years they have spent together. This particular class of stellar students, strong athletes and divergent thinkers, talented singers and dancers, leaders and actors, and most of all, enthusiastic talkers, has been a joy to work with as they join in the wonderful Lifeplan Journey of choices, decisions and consequences.

As you recall from earlier Musings, Lifeplan has a sacrosanct rule for those of us guiding the young people through this process. We only talk 20% of the time. This guideline is all about the young people getting the “air time” to express their values and their dreams, to build goals and recruit a board of directors to support them in their quests. With this particular class, it was not an issue of any one of them finding their voices. They each have a very strong, clear one and they are most eager to share and express their feelings, opinions, ideas and individual points of view.

I know I’m getting older, and the world is ever changing, but I just feel particularly optimistic when I spend a year with 32 thirteen and fourteen year olds who have a real sense of purpose, who are well grounded in their values and who are able to develop a game plan to achieve their dreams.

When this class did their values exercise, each selected their top five values. Then they negotiated within their groups to come up with their top three. Then the entire class participated in an animated process to choose the Class of 2013’s top four values. They were Optimism, Character, Determination and Love! Think about it for a second. Have you ever spent a year with a group who has embraced four values to use as criteria for decision making? Indeed, a potent experience.

The four groups then proceeded to make a sixty second PSA (public service announcement) portraying their chosen values. The class shared their Lifeplan experience at a celebration in May, with parents and friends whom they were inviting to be on their boards of directors.

There are so many compelling issues and challenges facing us today that it often becomes difficult to decide how one can make a difference. I have chosen to “pay it forward” by growing the Lifeplan opportunity for as many young people as possible.

Lifeplan is a compass, an affirmation of dreams, a “how to” plan, and a networking strategy. It is, above all, an insight into the success one can achieve if they are focused with a good plan, work hard and know that speed bumps occur but it is how one responds to them that will define their character.

Working with this wonderful group of young people this year just affirms my core belief that if we celebrate the dreams young people have and help them construct a game plan to realize those dreams, we actually can make a difference. Personally, I love to dream about “what if every young person had access to this Lifeplan experience?”

To dreams and to a wonderful summer!

All the best,


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