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.
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.
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.
Lies are costly. Lies have a cost because they multiply; because they tear at our moral fabric; because they can become unrecognizable.
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.
Yes, I might be overzealous in my work on their behalf, but I will be unapologetic. Why? Because I care about children.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 matters. It is not easy, and it is a journey that one must sincerely pursue…and humbly accept.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 to human existence. The ability to forgive allows us to move on in our lives, progressing from childhood to adolescence to adulthood.
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.
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.
Truth-telling is an essential skill for personal life, for interpersonal social interactions, for community activities, and for governmental decision-making.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 are our best teachers! Listen and learn.
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 is a guide to a life fulfilled.
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.
“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…
So many sacrificed so much for all of us…
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.
Racism can be replaced with anti-racism
Capital punishment is wrong in my opinion. And it’s been a tough journey for me to come to that conclusion.
Labels are not for people.
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!
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.