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Replace Upset with Relief

While it may be unsettling to discuss our mortality or changes in daily life, is it possible to begin an educational component for youth?

Photo of Lynn Lambrecht
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Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine the end-of-life experience?

Our society avoids the topic of death, illness, accidents, disabilities. Life includes all of this. Shifting the upset to relief is an idea directed toward our youth, as they enter into adulthood. Life skills preparation for them, inclusive of this may lead to opening up the possibility for conversation, compassion, action and empowerment.

Replacing Upset with Relief

Do you recall the first time you encountered death in “real life”?   How old were you?  What were the circumstances? 

I was eight years old when my younger cousin died of a brain tumor.  She was four.  I remember our parents not wanting to talk about it at all.  Yet, my cousin and I talked about it.  She knew she was sick.  She knew her eyes were peering at her nose and her head ached all the time.  I remember she said she wasn’t scared and asked me to “look after” her mom and dad.  As I reflect back, she was so wise, so calm, at peace.  For me, knowing Angie was “ok” was all I needed to keep living with her as long as she was here.  We talked, we played, we took walks, we acted “normal”.  Those memories have stayed with me as I’ve kept living. 

When I was growing up, we had a Death and Dying class in high school.  We read Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and discussed the stages of grief, leading to acceptance.  It was a place where we could all express if we had encountered death and share our experiences/feelings.  Kids who felt like talking could, no one was forced.  We discussed that it was certain we too would leave the physical world, while our date of departure was unknown.  We discussed the uncertainties and explored how we felt.  We were encouraged to continue talking and exploring our feelings along with getting to know how others felt. 

When did you first experience a time when someone was seriously ill or had an accident?  I call these “Life events”.  We see the impact at home, at school, at work.  When you or someone you know is dealing with the impact of facing the unknown, we often feel unprepared or uncomfortable in our daily routine as we want things/life to be “normal” … yet they aren’t.    

“Life events” and death happen every minute of every day.  While it may be unsettling to discuss our mortality or changes in daily life, is it possible to begin an educational component within our society to “neutralize” talking about all of life, inclusive of illness, accidents and death?  Mix it in with “life skills” education inclusive of budgeting, time management, planning and organizing. 

I continually ask myself where are these conversations in our society?  When did we as a society “clam up”?  Is there a tie between embracing critical thinking, debate and philosophy in our educational system and our ability to openly acknowledge the “D” (disruption, disability, even death) words?  Life skills are an important component to students entering into adulthood.  Is it possible a link exists between individual interpretation of “life skills” and the application of personal responsibility to our daily lives with our interpretation of death? 

I am a believer in talking about the “elephant” in the room.  If we feel unprepared, if we fear our mortality, if we prefer to avoid a potential conflict, if we fear traumatizing others, if we deny the fact it could happen to us, if we feel we have plenty of time – these are all reasons not to talk or plan in advance for the “what if’s”. 

What if we could shift these reasons to avoid to accepting the empowerment, freedom, relief, comfort and peace of mind that comes from being able to think about, discuss and plan for “life events” and even death?   

Through mentoring high school seniors who embark upon their first year in college, I’ve learned from them about skills they would like to develop.  Those skills center primarily on how to prepare to manage their time, money and emotions as they enter this important phase of live – the transition into adulthood.  The Urban Dictionary has a word for this – “Adulting” which in essence is taking responsibility for life choices previously left to their parents.

Could it be possible to education youth to allow them to be the leaders in initiating discussions of these important topics?  Could it be possible that through driving change at a younger age, we may also provide them with the skills necessary to prepare them for living life inclusive of the impact of the “what if’s” with confidence?  Could it be possible to replace upset with relief?

The Living Planner was formed to provide resources to individuals and businesses to advance practical ways to organize, access and secure information, plans and decisions that impact daily lives.  Educating future generations about the value of life skills is an approach for consideration. #LifePlanningSimplified

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Expand "life skills" discussions with the students I mentor and initiate discussions with Educational Administrators in my local community to assess interest if I may begin educational curriculum to students while they are still in high school. Curriculum to include life skills of time, money and emotional management combined with "Adulting" discussions of personal information, financial, legal, health care decisions to consider when creating "offensive and defensive strategies" in life.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

Any and all feedback is welcome! - Assessment of incorporating "life skills" for youth with planning for the "what if's" of accident, illness, disabilities and death would be great. - Strategic partnerships with other service providers - Ideas welcome to promote services/resources of The Living Planner

Tell us about your work experience:

I come from 30+ years of leadership positions in global aviation. I was a volunteer emergency team responder and worked 3 crashes, including 9/11. This, combined with assisting my family during illness/death led me to create The Living Planner. Holistic/Practical preparation is my mission.

This idea emerged from

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Attachments (2)

Living Planner Overview_Business Owners.pdf

The Living Planner Overview for Businesses

Living Planner Overview Individuals.pdf

The Living Planner Overview for Individuals


Join the conversation:

Photo of Waiswa  John Billy

Hello Lynn Lambranct, thank you for the good job, in life we shoul always project what might happen when we live. Great work!

Photo of Lynn Lambrecht

Waiswa Billy John, thanks very much!  Appreciate your comments from my website also :)  Education and acceptance in life, opens us up to so much ... Lynn

Photo of Waiswa  John Billy

I agree with you Lynn. If the public Education system can learn to address these questions in your description, there will be a great impact in bridging the gap of unpreparedness and planning. If talking about Death is intergreted in the Education, it will help in the production of open minded citizens and ready to address any challenges of life putting forward their impact after life when they die.