Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Peter Benson and Search Institute

I attended the funeral for Dr. Peter Benson yesterday at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, in downtown Minneapolis. There were moving testimonials of the spark that Peter brought to others through his active listening and engaging leadership style.  His son, Kai, also shared of the unconditional love and humor he shared with his family, even when Kai sported a purple mohawk during teen years.

Peter Benson, former president of Search Institute, was a national and worldwide leader in the field of youth research. In addition to formulating 40 Developmental Assets for Youth, Peter also developed a nationwide initiative of Healthy Communities - Healthy Youth. His final major effort centered around the area of helping people, especially teens, find their sparks, those deepest passions and interests that give purpose, focus, joy and energy and that are good and useful for the world.

It was noted that all of the worlds great leaders, including Peter Benson, point away from themselves and to the rest of the world. One of the songs sung at the funeral was "This little light of mine".  All were encouraged to let their lights shine, and to recognize and light the sparks in others... those special gifts and interests that are unique to each of us.

Following is a quote from Howard Zinn, 2004, that graced a handout given at the funeral.

To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage and kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and place - and there are so many - where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a wold in a different direction.

No comments:

Post a Comment