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Pathmaps: A Life of No Regrets
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For: Middle School, Upper School
Pathmaps Points: Meaning and Purpose, Values and Beliefs, Self Knowledge and Self Worth

Summary: This is an activity designed to identify personal goals, dreams and desires.

Read the following excerpt about John Goddard to students (more information on John Goddard available at

At the age of 15, John Goddard sat down at his kitchen table in Los Angeles and wrote 127 of his life dreams on a yellow sheet of paper. His list seemed audacious, and included climbing 16 of the world’s tallest mountains, exploring eight world-class rivers, visiting every country in the world, studying 12 primitive cultures, flying an airplane, and visiting the moon. In 1927, 32 years after he had written this list, Life magazine reported that Goddard had achieved 103 of his dreams. Goddard recalled that, as a teenager, the adults in his life expressed regret for not following through with their dreams. Desiring to live with no regrets, he planned for a life of excitement, knowledge, and fun, and followed through with his plan.

Ask students, “What are 10 things you want to do before you die?” Give ten minutes to make a list. At the end of the time allotted, ask students to share one item with the rest of the class.

• Ask them if hearing other ideas triggered more thoughts for them and take the next five minutes to brainstorm as many as they possibly can.

• Ask them to think outside the box–read some of John Goddard’s list to stimulate their thinking.

• Emphasize that there are no limits and no wrong answers.

• Provide ideas or themes such as travel, work, creative design, invention, learning, taste.

Additional activities and questions:
• Ask the students to order the list by priority or to mark which ones they want to do before particular ages (35, 65, etc.).

• Ask them to put a star by at least five that they want to do before they are twenty years old.

• Ask students to reflect on how many of their activities relate to physical pleasures, to social experiences, to spiritual life.

• Ask them to consider how many of them overlap the three domains just mentioned. Do any of their experiences belong to domains other than the physical, the social, or the spiritual? Go around and share one starred item.


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