Which word do you use more often, “We” or “I”?

David Brooks’ column “How to Actually Make America Great Again” reflects on the new book by Robert Putnam and Shaylyn Romney Garrett called The Upswing It chronicles America’s swing from solidarity (we) to individualism (I) over the last fifty years.

As one point of evidence, the authors cite that the use of the word “I” in American books has doubled between 1965 and 2008.

What kind of ancestor do you want to be?

This powerful question comes from Rom Mokak,  Australia’s first Indigenous Policy Evaluation Commissioner.  It is a question that the Yawuru people ask when a major decision is to be made for their community.

When I first heard this question, it made me think of what kind of steward I am for not just my children’s future but for their children and their children and so on. I…

To stay out of the dark, capture the light

Last week, for the first time ever, we saw a picture of a black hole.  In this primer of the experience, the New York Times described a black hole as a region in space that “swallows up everything too close, too slow or too small to fight its gravitational pull.” The edge of a black hole is marked by a ring of light, called the event horizon, represents light about to be drawn into the black hole “never to escape.” …

Polar Opposites

It stood almost ten feet tall and weighted close to a thousand pounds. We were less than four feet away, separated by two trainers and a steel fence. Feeling small in its presence, it was literally awesome.

While most of the onlookers were equally mesmerized watching the polar bear go through its training exercises, it was impossible not to notice the five-year-old girl who sat just in front of me.…

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.…

I’m Biased. Are You?

I read the New York Times and watch MSNBC because they reinforce my existing beliefs (confirmation bias).

I remember bad things done to me more than good things done for me (negativity bias).

I think that the country will ultimately be ok (optimism bias).

I didn’t think the poll results were accurate leading up to the midterms (pessimism bias).

I believe that if I flip a coin five times and get heads each time, the next flip will be tails (the gambler’s fallacy).…

Don’t Turn The Page

I really wanted to write something positive today. Then I saw this.

The first time I had seen that picture was last Sunday.  It was on the front page of the New York Times.  My seven-year old daughter had just crawled up on my lap and asked me who that was. I told her that this picture was of another seven-year old girl who lived in Yemen and because of the war going on in that country could not get enough to eat.…

Battling for Trophies

Recently my 10 year-old daughter participated in an event called, Battle of the Books. The premise seemed noble. Spark interest in reading by creating a program where students would be given five books to read over the summer.  They would meet as a group to discuss the book and then in the fall, they would gather with students from other schools for a competition based on recalling the book’s content. Sort…