Here's second my article:
WHAT I LEARNED FROM AUSTIN
As you may have read in my last newsletter, my son died last month in Chicago. He had left his apartment, probably to watch a large thunderstorm pass over the city, and disappeared. After a six day search, his body was recovered from the lake.
Once Austin was found, many stories from his friends and classmates started flowing in to a website we’d built to assist in the search.
As a father in a very close family, I thought I knew my son pretty well. But as I’m sure you all can remember from when you were young, we don’t reveal everything about ourselves to our parents, friends, classmates or lovers. Each person knows a different side of us.
Reading these stories has allowed us to see all the facets of our son and to really appreciate the impact he had on
everyone who knew and loved him.
And in reading these stories, my son taught me many things about how to live a richer life.
BE WHO YOU ARE
From his love of classical music, to his too-short pants and bright white socks, Austin didn’t care what people’s opinions
of him were. Austin enjoyed being exactly who he was. How often do we hide parts of ourselve’s so we can “fit in” rather than be who we are?
BE JOYFUL IN LIFE
Story after story remarks on Austin’s ever present smile, enthusiasm, and positive attitude. He had those because he always looked for the best in people and in experiences. How many people do you know who always look for the negative in people or situations? There is no courage or joy in pessimism.
Austin took a joy in learning new things, be it from chasing us around with sidewalk chalk at age 2 to learn the alphabet, to attending a university with a broad required curriculum, Austin wanted to know everything about everything and would work hard to do it. Learning is growth. What new knowledge have you challenged yourself with recently?
LOVE TO TEACH
Austin’s love of learning and joy in knowledge led him to enthusiastically tutor other students in his classes. For him, concepts were cool and he loved working with people until their eyes lit up and they “got it” too. What passions do you have that you could teach others?
EMBRACE NEW EXPERIENCES
Austin said “yes” much more than he said “no” to new experiences. He’d try everything at least once to see if he enjoyed it rather than rejecting opportunities out of hand. How easy it is to say “That sounds like too much work” and then turn on the TV to have yet another unremarkable day.
CREATE TIME FOR YOUR FRIENDS
Austin was always available to his friends. If a friend needed his time, but he had to study that day as well, he’d
simply skip sleeping. I know my circle of friends is much smaller now as I’m often too busy or too tired to make time
AUSTIN ALWAYS WANTED THE BEST FOR PEOPLE
From trying to entice a homeless man into a free YoYo Ma cello concert, to gently steering his friends to follow their
passions in picking a career path (and not their parent’s), to helping a competitor with a tricky concept BEFORE a
competition. Austin always wanted everyone to be their best selves. We so often see life as a zero-sum game where
someone’s gain is another person’s loss, and Austin knew that was not true. Helping people only makes the shared pie
If anyone would like to see any of the stories I have referred to, they are posted under “Stories” at www.RememberingAustin.com.
And I want to thank all of my colleagues, suppliers and customers who have reached out to my family at this difficult time. Your prayers and good wishes are deeply appreciated.
- Gregg LaPore