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  • Gerald Tindal

Day 8: Planning


Dogg Man,


We got together with Sam last night. What a bright light he is. The two of you had much in common with one big difference. You were a remarkable man. He is a remarkable man. And the difference in the verb is everything. The beauty of your lives is that it was/is about experimentation just to see what could/would happen: mix things up but under your view of worth and value. Sam is brimming with cool ideas for your Celebration of Life, an event that we want to be joyful so everyone in attendance can see what they already know: your ability to smile and bring out the best in all of us.


Back to the subject line (as you can see in my letters, it is so easy for me to get off message). Planning is an interesting concept and one I’ve done most of my life. It definitely has big ideas and details. An expectation of ebb and flow. A realization of the difference between what is to happen and what happens. It is about anticipation, a tinge of uncertainty, and a big dollop of hope and whatever.

Planning my last cross country bicycle trip was joyful in itself. I put a route in place with the names of little towns strewn across this vast country. In your celebration of life, our plans involve a similar sequence of way stops but instead of geography, it’ll be through time and people. He has brilliant plans that we think will be a signature on a life well lived: Yours.


The other type of planning throughout my career has been about the science of education. Planning research is about controlling all the variables but one. And that one variable is used to help explain not just what happens but maybe even get a glimpse of why. To explain is to understand. To explain means that perhaps we can re-create and add even more control and complexity as we mix things up under the lens of worth and value.


Ultimately, the one variable in your life that apparently wasn’t controlled was your death. It was unplanned and leaves us questioning forward movement. We didn’t know how little we controlled so in the end we cannot understand. We cannot explain. And we are only left with your life and now your death.


In a later letter, I’ll tell you about our plans for your legacy. As Sam put it last night “This is bigger than all of us” as we connect our plans to celebrate your life with our plans to honor your life, perhaps with a small bit of understanding through your lens of worth and value.


Dad Man



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