This past week, my uncle, Anthony Bezich, also known in our community as "Crazy Tony," turned 90! Tony is the younger brother of my mother. He is one of those full of life, gregarious, outgoing people that everyone knows (and loves)! He was an attorney, served as assistant prosecutor, ran for office, and held various community service volunteer positions throughout his life. He's also a sports fan and family man. He was (and is) the "fun" uncle, who was always making a joke, taking a movie, or helping someone feel welcome.
I was thrilled to receive an invitation to his 90th birthday bash. So why am I telling you about my uncle's party? Because it's not always easy to pick our birthday gifts—particularly for a 90 year old! Since it's my job to help provide you with tips to communicate effectively, I thought it'd be fun to show how this party was the perfect way to demonstrate our deep love and appreciation for Uncle Tony.
The party did an incredible job of honoring Uncle Tony's life. For example, they started with his high school years. Tony had played on the football and baseball team, so they went back to high school and got a current football team jersey (with 90 on it to celebrate his birthday), a varsity baseball cap, as well as a coach's polo for him. They even got the long-time principal and superintendent of the school (who also served as a public servant—a freeholder in our county) to bestow these thoughtful gifts. She talked a bit about her "buddy" Tony and the value of education. It was very inspirational.
Then they moved onto his early career years as assistant prosecutor. The County Prosecutor's office created a plaque that included a special badge and letter that honored his years of service. But it was made even more special because the plaque was presented to him by his grandson who now works in the prosecutor's office. The grandson delivered a heartfelt speech about the impact that his grandfather had on his life.
Next they moved to his later life achievements and had similar plaques and inspirational stories. After all the professional recognition was finished, family members stood up, one by one, and told him about his influence on their lives and how much he meant to him. In some ways, the words often sounded like like a eulogy but how great it must have been for my Uncle Tony to be able to hear and feel so much love and appreciation?
I didn't have an opportunity to speak. but he made an impact on me too. I wouldn't have chosen to be the host of The Public Speaker if it weren't for the influence of Uncle Tony. Growing up, I saw how important it was to make an impact on the lives of others and I always wanted to be like my Uncle Tony in that regard.
So if you are looking for the perfect gift for a 90 year old, or really any loved one, throw him or her a party. But not just any party—a party that celebrates and shows them how much you appreciate the influence they have had on your life.
This is Lisa B. Marshall changing organizations, changing lives, and changing the world through better communication. If you’d like to learn more about leadership, influence, and communication, I invite you to read my bestselling books, Smart Talk and Ace Your Interview and listen to my other podcast, Smart Talk. As always, your success is my business.