The intrinsic problem with equating discipline with punishment is a misunderstanding of the meaning of discipline. The word discipline comes from a root word meaning to teach or instruct.
Birmingham, AL (1963) – Children at play?
The children in Birmingham AL peacefully protested segregation, segregation with its inherent unequal education and unequal economic opportunity, and were greeted with violence.
My Children’s Children?
My Children’s Children was therefore chosen as the title to give a voice (sometimes more of a shout!) on behalf of my children, my grandchildren, my patients and their children, and all children.
Thoughts on Medical Trust
The brewing distrust for medicine and science that has bubbled up, especially during the pandemic, only serves to diminish health care (acute, chronic, supportive and preventive). The public needs to trust the medical profession.
WOKE – Count me in
If woke is being “aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice),” then count me in.
The Pediatric Way
I am proud to be part of a movement that sees the importance of treating all children as our valuable resources to be nurtured and cherished.
Tears – Rinsing our psyches
Tears are so important in our lives. Let’s let them rinse our emotions – grieving together, celebrating together, being nonjudgmental – as we support each other.
Sages can use their lifetime of experience by being positive contributors to the community and continuing to provide purpose to their own lives.
Grace – A Gift or A Journey?
To accept the grace of God and others might be our fate but to make it meaningful requires us to be on a journey to accept that grace and pass it on.
The Strength of Social Capital
Social capital refers to good will, fellowship, sympathy, and social intercourse among individuals and families.
Happiness for children
Caring for each other is the hallmark of caring citizens…and the path to happiness. What a beautiful trail to lead our children down.
Laughter and tears are potent salves
We should be looking for salves (anything that soothes or relieves) in our interactions with our children.
Are we asking the right questions?
Asking the right question – “What happened to you” – allows us to switch the focus from blaming children for their behavior to a place of understanding and allows us to be more impactful with our attempts at helpful interventions.
The Challenge of Mercy
Mercy is that peculiar quality that at times seems ephemeral (transient, temporary) yet pervasive in its calling.
Epiphanies, revelations, or “light-bulb” moments are sometimes easy to recognize but, more often than not, are only noticed after the fact.
Timeless Christmas gifts
This holiday season, let’s consider the gifts of substance as the most important gifts to share with our children and family. Gifts of substance are those that have lasting value and are often considered timeless. These are gifts that touch the heart and soul of human interactions, the essence of the bond between parent and child.
Lack of Sportsmanship = Lack of Civility
The example of sportsmanship sets the stage for positive community improvement. Sportsmanship demonstrates love for others, respect, and honesty.
How to Move Forward
While we often have a tough time dealing with forgiveness for painful issues (personal, business, social, or community), we can still move on making sure we don’t let our confusion cloud our actions. We must work together, taking communal responsibility, to improve the life of our community.
Critical factors for parenting
We should never assume that parents don’t need help “navigating the maze” that we call parenthood. We all need help and should never be embarrassed to ask.
Why Mentors Matter – A Tribute to Dr. Sam Katz
He was an experienced and trusted advisor, but he was so much more. His mentorship set the stage for multiple aspects of my career.
The toxicity of hate
Hate evokes such a powerful emotion that its toxicity affects our own thoughts, our interpersonal relationships (partner, family, friends) and our social relationships.
“With malice toward none, with charity for all”
Lincoln knew the only way to rebuild and move forward, was to accept the common responsibility for the problems of the day (“with malice toward none”) and work together to improve from this time forward (“with charity for all”).
“You’ve got a Friend in Me” – Woody Rides Again
“You’ve got a friend in me” only works if we accept the responsibility that goes with it.
Racial inequity – It cannot be whitewashed
Racism is a problem for all but particularly children. Those affected are raised in an environment that has lifetime effects and usually multiple effects across generations. The easy thing to do is to sit back and just hope that society does better. But those that care for children are not allowed that “luxury.” They must engage to make a difference.
Revisiting My Father – Thanks to Fred Rogers
Being mindful of those around us and accepting them and their humanity is so crucial to our lives. The lessons of Mr. Rogers are pertinent to me, at every stage of my life.
It takes a village – it really does!
There is an African proverb stating that “it takes a village to raise a child” implying that a local (or even broader) community of people need to work together along with a child’s parents to raise a child to their maximum potential.
I Might Be Getting Older But…
Elders need to get involved as sages. Sages are elders who choose to use their experience in life for the betterment of their fellow citizens.
Forgiveness is an essential trait to human existence. The ability to forgive allows us to move on in our lives, progressing from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. Forgiveness is therefore a fundamental developmental step in our lives.
Why this pediatrician decided to write books
Pediatrics is a great medical specialty. Its impact on its practitioners and on patients and their families can be long lasting. For me, the impact has been enormous. I have felt that I have a tremendous responsibility to children and their families. The practice of pediatrics has made me a better person.
Parallels between civil rights legal struggles and 2020 election denials
It is quite plain to me that the early segregationists and their perversion of the rule of law are eerily similar to the attempt by some prominent politicians to subvert the rule of law with the attack on the Capitol and the continued attack on our laws and the Constitution.
LOVE THY NEIGHBOR
Love for thy neighbor is really tough for all of us, if we are honest with ourselves. Yet total disregard for this holy instruction makes a mockery of public service and tears at the moral fabric of the country when it is allowed to continue and accepted as the new norm.
Thoughts from a Proud “Flip-Flopper”
I proudly accept the fact that I have changed my opinion and have “flip-flopped.” I would argue that I have not flip-flopped but rather have made a reasoned decision based on a lifetime of experience and moral conviction.
Labels—Merchandise, yes; People, no
Labels can have specific roles and functions. They can provide information as needed to make decisions about purchases. On merchandise, they can be helpful signaling certain measures of quality, perceived or real. But labels have no place in describing people.
Lessons from Moon Visitors
“We don’t go to heaven when we die, we go to heaven when we’re born.”
A Selfish Agenda
Selfishness does not and will not serve us well. We must recommit to the principles of the American dream and reject the notion of us vs. them.
“Show the world all the love in your heart”
I just adore the words in the Carole King song, BEAUTIFUL.
The lessons of Gross Anatomy linger
Though now clinically retired, I am forever indebted to the profession of medicine and how I have hopefully helped others and how so many others (colleagues and patients) have helped me. And I am particularly indebted to the early donor for my anatomy experience.
To Kill a Mockingbird meets Friday Night Lights
Great literature tells us stories that are timeless and remind us of our responsibility to our fellow citizens. Often children are the messengers of these messages.
What is Patriotism?
Patriotism is not passive. Patriotism requires action.
The Power of Vulnerability
Being vulnerable when practicing forgiveness is a strength and one to accept as a strength when dealing when others. I applaud the strength of vulnerability, acknowledge its power, and encourage others to do the same.
Bui Doi – They are all our children, too
If we cannot see our common humanity, then I dare say we have lost our own humanity.
Adversity, resilience, and flourishing – Oh my!
There is a path forward from adversity. Resilience and flourishing to help establish SSNRs and using the tools of relational health can help clear that path.
How to leave a “Columbine-world”
We are now over twenty-three years post Columbine. My journey continues
“There is a cultural obsession nowadays with civility, with the idea that if everyone is mannered enough, any impasse or difference of opinion can be bridged. But these are desperately uncivil times. And there is nothing more uncivilized than the political establishment’s inurement to the constancy of mass shootings in the United States.”
Better is Good
When I look back at the life of Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. or John Lewis, I realize by their words and actions that “better is good” was often the next acceptable step, and that “better is actually a lot harder than worse” was so true.
Why a pediatrician (and son) decided to write books
While pediatricians do not use holy water in their interactions, they do invest an incredible amount of professional experience and emotional energy as they engage in a partnership with their families.
Our Children are Ill: Should we treat the symptoms or the cause?
Let’s address all children as our children and promote policies and practices that support the formation and maintenance of safe, stable and nurturing relationships.
Whether engaged in medical service as a physician or community service as a citizen, we need to let mercy be our guide and let compassion and forbearance lead us forward.
Horses were my mother’s religion
My mother was a very devout person. Her love for horses was the perfect outlet for her creative energy and was the demonstrable way for her to show her love for so many things.
NEVER AGAIN? NOT REALLY
Lies are costly. Lies have a cost because they multiply; because they tear at our moral fabric; because they can become unrecognizable.
Science and Children: What’s the Big Deal?
Science matters—it improves lives, it tells us when we need to make changes and it provides a blueprint how to help children and their families.
Why? Because I care about children
Yes, I might be overzealous in my work on their behalf, but I will be unapologetic. Why? Because I care about children.
Skepticism can erode trust
Only when we recognize the healthy aspects of being a skeptic (to keep us morally strong) and diminish the toxic aspects of being a skeptic (believing unverified information and breeding mutual suspicion) can begin to see our path forward. We have to be open to listen, carefully observe and course correct when needed.
Receiving trust requires give and take
Trust is such a difficult issue to discuss at times. We all want to be trusted, and we want to able to trust others. I refer to the former as projecting trust and the latter as receiving trust.
Staying “true” to the truth – Moral courage
the ability to hold our ground and stay the course and to let right triumph over might displays the moral courage necessary to stay true to the truth. We will all waver at times, so this is a difficult virtue to uphold.
The toxin of poverty and children—a way out?
Poverty is a harmful toxin in the lives of children. It is a lifelong environmental toxin that affects children in the short-term and the long-term.
Conflict Resolution by Rational Discourse
The ability to resolve conflict in civilized society is probably not an innate ability. We have to be taught how to do it. We need to see positive role models in our parents, family members, employers, teachers, and fellow citizens.
“Professional” lessons learned
Recently I was asked to write an article about my professional journey. When I was completing that, I took the time to highlight 5 lessons learned. As I detail them below, I also realize that they have applicability to all of our social interactions and that every day is a day to learn and improve.
Truth-seeking is a humbling journey
Truth matters. It is not easy, and it is a journey that one must sincerely pursue…and humbly accept.
The Professional Road Less Traveled
One might ask what I have learned in my close to 50 years since college and foster parenthood being a pediatrician, medical geneticist, educator, administrator and author. I could create a long list, but I will choose just a few
Columbine revisited – again and again
These measures are no guarantee that school shootings will be eliminated. It is time for all of us to pledge to make the changes needed. Life is complicated, and bad things will continue to happen. But just accepting the death of children as inevitable and extending “thoughts and prayers” to the families is reprehensible when corrective measures are available.
If we use our strengths and seek to improve where we can, then we begin to get to that somewhere, somehow and some day. That is our joint humanity.
The Correctness of Political Correctness
Political correctness is ok and necessary in my view. It serves to adjust our moral compass on an episodic basis. Not only is it a good thing, it is a necessary component of a civil society and democracy such as ours. After all, civility is the hallmark of citizens of faith. Citizens of faith care about how they treat each other.
To Be Unconscious or Conscious – That is the Parenting Question
There are two ways to be a parent—unconscious or conscious. Like most things in life, this is not a binary choice. It is both. I contend that we vacillate back and forth continually as we try to maneuver this journey called parenting.
Em (“within”) – Pathos (“suffering”): Empathy Revisited
To practice empathy, I have to use my own strengths and weaknesses to reach out, gently peek behind the curtain, be humble, and pursue a course of active engagement.
The everyday lessons of genocide
The lessons of genocide are unfortunately the lessons of everyday life. We need to listen long and hard to those lessons so we can improve our community and the community of humankind.
Personal responsibility in our community
Getting involved in our community in some tangible way is crucial for positive change. Change will only occur when citizens commit to get involved in the issues in their community.
The gaps…oh, the gaps
The gaps that we ignore in history only serve to perpetuate false nostalgia or continue a false narrative. When doing so, we continue to deny what defines our history.
TRUST AND FAITH…AND LOVE
I think the intersection of trust, faith and love is very much a part of the practice of medicine and reasonably shared by an elder in his community.
Forgiveness – Field of Dreams style
Forgiveness is essential as we strive to improve ourselves and the lives of our fellow citizens. Let’s pay attention to the signs (church, movies, and music to name a few) that can provide the guideposts for us to recognize our current situation and make a positive change. This change (forgiving ourselves first) must occur before we can make a difference.
This I Believe – Parenting Matters
The power of the influence of our parents is incalculable. They can provide the platform for our actions and the actions of generations to come.
Parenting and maps
Parenting is sometimes considered an innate process to raise one’s children to be capable adults—that everything is straightforward and will easily fall into place over the years from birth to adulthood. Conceiving children does not properly prepare us for the nurturing, physical and emotional, needed to raise healthy children.
Sages can make a difference
As we age, we can choose to be elderly or become elders. In the former role, we tend to accept the physical and mental changes and just lament their presence as inevitable. In the latter role, we are not “age-ing” per se but hopefully “sage-ing.” As a sage, we are using our collective experience to help provide advice and potential wisdom to others.
The tale of three opposites
More often than not, we know the things we should be doing. I can recall many times when knowing something still did not translate into positive actions on my part. When that happens, I have found that looking at opposites can be helpful.
It’s a free country
Freedom is not really ours. It is a gift, and we must use that gift wisely. Great sacrifices have been made on our behalf. And we must honor those sacrifices.
DEAR EVAN HANSEN has lessons for us all, beyond our youth
The Broadway musical “Dear Evan Hansen” deals with issues confronted in the angst of adolescence and about learning how to deal with these issues. But these lessons are life-long issues—they are just more dramatic during adolescence and the emotions needed to deal with them then are often more exposed. So, it is appropriate to relook at the lessons and add an additional adult perspective
What to Say to Someone Who Lost a Child
I know from experience the anguish that families experience with the loss of a child. Whether the circumstances include a previously healthy child who died from a tragic accident or a child with a chronic health condition who succumbed to their disease, families are never really prepared for their loss. They need our support, especially when we might be uncomfortable and not know what to say.
Save Our Children!
The abuse and neglect of our children is preventable. Children, our most precious resource for the future and our most vulnerable group of people, deserve our protection.
Forgiveness is essential
Forgiveness is essential to human existence. The ability to forgive allows us to move on in our lives, progressing from childhood to adolescence to adulthood.
Trust is the currency of social interaction
I don’t think it is an exaggeration to state that “trust is the currency of social interaction”—that trust is the basis of how we can make our words and deeds worthy of the privilege of serving others or the privilege of telling others of what we think they should be doing.
COMMUNITY IS FAMILY
We must remember that our community is our family. Often when we think in ‘a business way’ we tend to lose sight of this big picture. We need to constantly remind ourselves that the real business of business is people.
Is Truth-telling Important?
Truth-telling is an essential skill for personal life, for interpersonal social interactions, for community activities, and for governmental decision-making.
The lessons of tyranny for parenting
Being a tyrant is the exact opposite of being a conscious parent that understands the give-and-take of effective parenting and is willing to adapt as needed to change. Tyranny has no place in society or in parenting. The lessons put forth by Professor Snyder are valuable reminders as we navigate the journey known as parenting.
The Chemistry of Community Improvement
I don’t think that it is a stretch to think of community improvement efforts in chemical way. New and enhanced efforts can result from the combination of simple “reactions” by individuals or groups.
A Pediatric Profile in Courage
I bring the story of this brilliant yet exceedingly humble pediatrician to our attention as a reminder that the work of protecting and enhancing the physical, social, educational, family and psychological environments of our children and families is the ongoing work of ALL of us.
WHAT REALLY MATTERS
I often ask myself “what really matters?” as I contemplate the path forward…I can engage as a citizen (seeking to help others), as a truth-seeker (on a journey of life-long learning and continuous improvement) and as an elder (having acquired an array of life-long experiences and seeking to use those in a positive fashion). Not being engaged is really not an option.
Do Pediatricians retire from public service?
The work of helping our children and families is ongoing. It demands our continued efforts. For those of us that retire from the workforce, we should never withdraw from our commitment to children. I pledge to continue the work!
Science and early child development
There are so many variables to be identified and analyzed for early childhood development. These variables are essentially the pieces of the “jigsaw puzzle” of life but do not in and of themselves dictate the future. But these variables can help us anticipate certain issues, be proactive as needed, be reactive when needed and intervene with support when it is needed.
“Our society isn’t fulfilling our promise to children”
The new AAP Blueprint for Children demands our full attention going forward. We can do no less.
Social discourse without civility is so ineffective and detrimental to our society.
Children as Our Teachers
Children are our best teachers! Listen and learn.
Foster Children Need Our Help
Children in foster care need our special attention and nurturing.
As we seek to solve current issues, a “wasn’t me” stance should be substituted with “was us”–and move forward.
Life-long learning – toward unconscious competence
Life-long learning is a guide to a life fulfilled.
Resilience is so important
The ability to receive help when we are down is key to developing resilience.
Social responsibility (to improve the lives of our fellow citizens and to right past wrongs) is integrally tied to forgiveness.
Being better carpenters
“I don’t think that I can ever forgive you.” “You don’t mean it. You’re not really sorry.” “When will you ever learn?” Expressions such as these are repeated in households and workplaces everywhere every day of the week. We humans are social beings, and social beings interact. Interactions inevitably will lead to some conflict. I think our ability to resolve those conflicts…
Captain Miller to Private Ryan – “Earn This”
So many sacrificed so much for all of us…
I have been truly blessed—thank you Mom, Julie and Mabel!
Mothers come in all forms—birth mothers, stepmothers, foster mothers, caregiving mothers (often grandmothers or aunts) and mothers-in-law. Whether assuming the role from birth or stepping in at various junctures in the life of the child/adult, these women play a vital role throughout our lives.
ANTI-RACISM SHOULD BE THE GOAL
Racism can be replaced with anti-racism
Capital Punishment is Just Plain Wrong—Thoughts from a Proud Flip-Flopper
Capital punishment is wrong in my opinion. And it’s been a tough journey for me to come to that conclusion.
Labels—Merchandise, yes; People, no
Labels are not for people.
Revisiting my father
Being mindful of those around us and accepting them and their humanity is so crucial to our lives. The lessons of Mr. Rogers are pertinent to me, at every stage of my life. His messages are certainly for more than children!
525,600 Seasons of Love
Abundant friends and love can make us “wealthy” and our lives fulfilled if we consider each minute (all 525,600 of them) in a year a chance to exhibit a season of love.