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Photo: Denis Pepin
His ashes are scattered there. They’re also scattered in other favorite places around the country. Famous comedian George Carlin’s ashes were taken to a number of spots around the United States by his daughter Kelly Carlin McCall and his brother Patrick. Among the locations was a summer camp in New Hampshire where Carlin attended as a young boy. On the day that he died George was wearing the necklace that he won in a drama competition at the camp when he was a child.

As I read this account, the idea of him wearing that summer camp necklace at the moment of his death literally leaped off the page. That day Mr. Carlin could have been wearing almost anything of incredible monetary value. He had wealth, fame, popularity. He was a highly acclaimed comedian with a number of HBO specials and world recognition to his credit. He’s been called a comic “genius” on numerous occasions by his peers, although his routines were regularly off-color and many times downright vulgar.

He could have worn anything, but he chose an old necklace he was awarded for a job well done. I found it interesting that someone of his fame and social status would choose a worn, sentimental trinket to place around his neck. It wouldn’t surprise me if George wore it regularly.

Common Human Need

I’m no psychologist, but his fondness for this memento bespeaks a common human need to be appreciated and to be recognized as valuable in someone else’s eyes. This desire is rarely more prevelant, nor is the gesture of appreciation more life-altering than when it takes place in the life of a child. Children need our attention and appreciation more than we may realize. They crave the heartfelt accolades for a job well done, no matter how insignificant we may feel it is at the time.

To be appreciated and to have the opportunity to contribute something of value can bring joy and purpose to a child’s life now and in the future. Our opportunity as adults is to recognize our children’s good motives and to share with them how important their contribution to this world really is.

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Michael Temple. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from The Message ® and the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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