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The Last Lecture

by Randy Pausch
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Why was Pausch glad he already "christened" his car?

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Pausch was glad he already "christened" his car because it reinforced an important principle in his niece and nephew's minds: "People are more important than things."

This principle is Pausch's own and has always served him well. In chapter 15, he tells of a time when he had no children of his own. Chris and Laura, his sister's children, became the focus of his time and attention during his single years.

Pausch tells us that he didn't spoil Chris and Laura; he simply tried to impart important life principles to his nephew and niece. He goes on to share that when Chris was seven and Laura was nine, he picked them up in his new Volkswagen Cabrio convertible to take them on an outing.

At the time, Pausch recalls that his sister laid down rules for her children to follow when they rode in his new car. These rules drove Pausch to distraction, however. He felt that they were unfair: after all, children always made messes.

So, to make things easier for Chris and Laura, Pausch "christened" the back seat of his car with a can of soda. He simply poured the soda all over the cloth seats, and he did this in front of Chris and Laura.

Pausch was thrilled that his actions made a difference. Later that weekend, Chris came down with the flu and ended up vomiting all over the back seat. Because Chris had seen his uncle "christen" the car with soda, he knew that he wouldn't get into trouble for his unintentional actions.

For his part, Pausch looks back at that time with fondness because he was able to form a memorable connection to his niece and nephew. The time spent with them became even more precious when he realized that he was going to die before his own children became adults.

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