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Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Meaning of Lifeplan

Someone recently challenged me to explain the meaning of Lifeplan in two sentences. They know I'm Italian and like to explain things with illustrative stories.

Despite the challenging nature of this task, I can honestly say it's not that difficult. In fact, I will give it to you in one sentence. Lifeplan gives young people fluency in describing who they are and what they want!

Since September, I have been working with the fifth group of 8th graders from Mount Tamalpais School. They are an exceptional group of young people and very supportive of one another.

As we have navigated through the Lifeplan modules, these young people have gained a firm insight to their core values, strengths and weaknesses, awareness of their inner voice and the strength to morph it to a positive nature. They are beginning to articulate their dreams, build SMART goals and build a Board of Directors to help them succeed.

One of my favorite exercises is when they go through their values exercise that results in them choosing their top three values. They have also learned that their behaviors are what put substance to these values. Then they keep a journal of choices they are faced with and which of their top values they used as criteria when making their decisions.

I can always expect a few of the young people to share the view that I have ruined things for them because now they have to stop and think about their decisions. I usually respond, yes, instead of winging it. And I add, it's likely more thoughtful decisions will have better consequences.

Lifeplan is a journey of choices, decisions and consequences. As it equips young people with the fluency to express who they are and what they want, it distinguishes them from those who have not yet had the opportunity to build a Lifeplan.

My dream for this Holiday Season is to renew the clarion for us all to resolve to make Lifeplan available to every young person. I always add, what would happen if every young person had a Lifeplan?

Remember in the season of giving that the greatest gift of all is your time with our young people.

Happy Holidays!



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