Passing the baton is an elaboration of an age-old deathbed tradition of uttering a few final words before the body’s long nap in the dirt but it can be much more. The book of Genesis recounts how the blind and dying patriarch, Isaac, called his firstborn, Esau, to his bedside to bestow his blessing. Generations later, Joseph took his two sons to the bedside of their dying grandfather, Jacob, to receive his blessing. And Jacob called his 12 sons to his bedside to give them final instructions about inheritance and responsibilities.

To this day there is a part of Jewish tradition that ritualizes deathbed repentance, confession, ordering of family affairs, instructions for life, and blessings. That is a wonderful practice, but passing the baton can be even more especially when started early. There are as many ways to pass it as there are people to do it. Find yours. It doesn't take money or skill, just a willing and motivated heart. Get on with it.

And don’t postpone it to those waning deathbed hours. If you do, it is unlikely that much will ever happen and your descendants will be  much the poorer. It is too important to be relegated to the last slot on your dance card when disease and medication- induced delirium can all too easily steal your thoughts and even your ability to speak. Even if you are in full possession of your faculties, courage can wane and sorrows defeat the best intentions.

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