Understanding

There are so many things about life that are beyond my current understanding. Chief amongst these are the experiences of people whose backgrounds are different from my own.  

I do not understand what it feels like to be the victim of an injustice or to perpetrate it.

I do not understand what it is like to be discriminated against daily, to patrol the streets, to fight in a war, to live in fear for myself or my family.…


Healthy people’s problems

I’m sure you’ve heard the term or made a joke about  “first world problems”, “rich people’s problems” or “white people’s problems”.  All are used, sometimes offensively, to diminish the seemingly insignificant issues that more privileged groups face.
 
My guess is that you’ve never heard or used the term “healthy people’s problems” – unless perhaps you or a family member has suffered through an all consuming health issue. …


A Labor, then Love

In 1894, Labor Day became an official federal holiday.

The year before a different kind of labor inspired a 26-year-old nurse to become one of the most important social reformers the country has ever known.

Lillian Wald was teaching a homemaking class on the Lower East Side when a little girl burst in begging for someone to help her dying mother.  She had struggled in labor before giving birth but was now badly hemorrhaging blood.…


Would you like to know your score?

Would you want people to make broad assumptions about you based on where you live? Would you like it if strangers were talking about your struggles in secret?  Would you be ok if people used a formula to formulate your future?
 
I imagine most of us would not feel comfortable with any of the above. Even if the acts were well intentioned, your lack of involvement or knowledge would be troubling.…


Where does wealth come from?

By definition, wealth is “an abundance of resources.”  In other words, you have more than you need.
 
It may seem counterintuitive, but research shows the primary determinant for wealth is not how much we make (income) but how much we are given (intergenerational transfer). 

This can come in three forms.  

  • Inheritance that is passed down upon the death of a parent or grandparent or other older relative.

Just a Little More?

Fifteen miles from my home is Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Its primary claim is the setting for the infamous ride of the Headless Horsemen – the author of which ironically was eventually buried there.

Perhaps less well-known is its status as the resting place of perhaps the richest collection of wealthy individuals this country has known. The names are a who’s who of American wealth — Astor, Dodge, Chrysler, Rockefeller, Watson and Carnegie.…


What Our Dogs Can Teach Us About Moving Up

As I write this, my two-year old Cairn terrier mix, Scout, is sitting on my lap. Occasionally, he rests his head on my right forearm, making the act of typing a more delicate matter.

The benefits of dog ownership are well documented. They improve both our physical and mental health, reduce stress, increase our sociability, confidence and sense of responsibility and generally just make us happier.  But…


See How Where You Live Affects How Long and How Well You Live

In general, people believe that their own actions are more important than the environments in which they live. It’s a belief that’s so powerful its name is Fundamental Attribution Bias.

At the same time, the decision of where to live, work, go to school or raise our kids is among the most important and serious ones we will make in our lives.  

If you’re curious to know how much where you live may impact your life, check out these two tools:

The first from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation uses CDC data to estimate life expectancy down to the census track level.…


The Final Gift from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This week marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination.

On April 3rd, the evening before his death, he gave his last public talk in Memphis. The speech is largely known for his prescient “mountaintop” passage below:

Well, I don’t know what will happen now; we’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter to me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop.


What About Us?

This is a question voiced by all who feel forgotten, neglected or marginalized.

It is also the title of the powerful song just released by Pink off her forthcoming album, Beautiful Trauma.
 
It is no surprise that the lyrics are already being seen as an anthem for any number of disenfranchised groups.


It is the universality of a plea to those in power that so easily resonates. …