Writing a new tradition…

“There will be no viewing since his wife refuses to honor his request to have him standing in the corner of the room with a glass of Jack Daniels in his hand so he would appear natural to visitors.” – from Walter Bruhl’s Obituary

Pay it Forward

When Walter Bruhl passed away the family discovered he had already written his own obituary. He took away the formality of a normal obituary and wrote a light hearted celebration (full obit). And he concluded with this thought: “Instead of flowers, Walt would hope that you will do an unexpected and unsolicited act of kindness for some poor unfortunate soul in his name.”

“In lieu of flowers” has become the new standard. Often today the obituary will call for gifts to cancer centers or to the deceased person’s church or… the options are endless. I especially like Walt’s guidance. How wonderful would it if we acted out this advice?? Then we could write a note to the person’s family? “In honor of the deceased we ________.” How touching for a grieving family to receive those notes. How fantastic for ourselves to live a life of unsolicited kindness!

Traditional flowers are nice, but Walt shows a better way. Which is how we should treat tradition; taking the council of history, but looking for new possibilities. We should be open to setting new traditions — “In lieu of flowers give kindness.”

In the same way, it is tradition for others to write our obituary, but Walt shows that does not have to be the case. He lifted the task from his grieving family, while providing his family a reminder of his joy and love!

This makes me wonder what I would write for my obituary? What would you write for yours?


On traditional and new ways, I read a splendid article about Common Core and teaching math. This is a loaded topic, since Common Core is politics and anything political digresses quickly to associations and name calling. But have an open mind, then click here and take a second to read it.

Right when he used the illustration of buying coffee, I realized that my training in school was not how my mind computed addition. And I was fascinated by the concept of teaching a new way. Even more importantly, it made me wonder how I should teach Ivy… I think I may need to go back to school!

5 thoughts on “Writing a new tradition…

  1. I think that is such a better way to celebrate ones life by doing acts of kindness for others. Not sure where to put that note to self…

    As for the common core math comment, it’s more about teaching a variety of methods to kids so they can choose what works best for them. I’ve got lots of crazy ways to teach math that would make my math teachers have heart attacks!

    1. Hey Cassie! I love the image of giving your math teachers heart attacks! And I would interested in learning the different strategies you use.

  2. Haha the only thing better than seeing Walt in the corner with his Jack Daniels would be if everyone was given a drink after waiting for hours in the line…

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