Helping make sense of inevitable changes over the life course

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans”—Not!

This discussion board invites participants to contribute
a) examples of advice about how to make sense of inevitable changes over the life course and/or
b) reflect on whether that advice could apply to them and what the implications would be.

For example, the quote above, which is often attributed to Woody Allen, suggests that any plans you make for life will get thwarted by circumstances you didn’t foretell (but all-knowing God knew about, thus he laughs). However, one might just as well advise: “If you want to make God smile with pride, tell him you are making plans for your life—after all, it’s the only one he has given you.” Woody Allen’s joke assumes that the person making plans doesn’t envisage adjusting the plans in light of circumstances. I’d like to reject that assumption and move on to asking how best to take stock of what happens in order to learn and change. Indeed, the goal of the discussion board is to help make that possible for participants.

1. Review previous submissions at
2. Add your own example OR reflection at (For reflections, refer to the time stamp so subsequent readers can link the reflection to the example it reflects on.)
Repeat 1 or 2 as often as you like.

This is a “design sketch” developed in response to the case at the end of
Contributions welcome.
(My personal plan is to add one per day for a while.)

Principle of critical thinking in design: When confused about an issue [in this case how to get the young to learn from the old and vice versa], turn that into an opportunity to learn from the range of views and experiences of others.


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