The Meaning of Life

A Simple Reminder by Leo Buscaglia

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Photography by Jenni Young
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Leo Buscaglia: Educator and Writer

Buscaglia was teaching in the Department of Special Education at the University of Southern California in the late 1960s when one of his students committed suicide. She had been one of the sets of "kind eyeballs" he always looked for in the large auditorium, because her responses showed him that at least one student was hearing what he said, so the news that she killed herself had a great impact on him. ["What are we doing stuffing facts into people and forgetting that they are human beings?"] This incident led him to form a non-credit class titled Love 1A. There were no grades. (How could you potentially fail someone in this class? That wouldn't be very loving!) The class led to lectures and a manuscript loosely based on what was shared in those weekly classes. The book found a publisher - and an author surprised to find that the simple title LOVE had never previously been claimed, allowing him to say "I have the copyright on LOVE!" Buscaglia said he never taught this class, only facilitated it, adding that he learned as much as anyone. Someone from a Public Broadcasting System affiliate heard one of his talks and arranged to tape a later presentation, eventually showing it during a pledge drive. The response was so strong that it was presented to the national office for consideration. There was great resistance, because a professor simply standing at a podium lecturing was considered old-fashioned, something from the old days of "educational television." Still, the message and delivery were so compelling that they gave it a try, and Leo Buscaglia's warm presentations touched viewers' hearts through the cool medium of television nearly as effectively as they did in person. He has been called the "granddaddy of motivational speakers" on television. His simple message delivered in a dynamic style made him a popular guest on television talk shows, as well as on the lecture circuit. At one time five of his books were on The New York Times Best Sellers List simultaneously.(buscaglia.com)

To learn more about Leo Buscaglia's work visit: Buscaglia.com

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