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weekly summit

Summarizing a mountain’s worth of stories, current events, creative ideas and stuff that makes us lol.

March 4, 2022

Understandably all eyes have been on Ukraine these last several days. It’s horrible to see what’s happening there. If you’re struggling to talk to your children about the war, this post from our favorite college professor, Emily Oster, might help. It’s a list of tips for how to talk about hard things with your children, which means it will be useful whether you want to talk about the war in Ukraine or a sick relative or any of the other tricky topics that come up every day. You can also check out this post, which Oster references, by Dr. Aliza W. Pressman, a psychologist and clinical professor in pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Pressman is perhaps best known for her podcast, Raising Good Humans. She focuses specifically on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has useful advice on how to approach conversations about current events with school-aged children.Even if many of us are transfixed by the tragedy unfolding in Eastern Europe, there is also other news to report, including President Biden’s nomination of the first Black woman to the Supreme Court. To learn more about his nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson, and her road from her home in Miami to Harvard University to the highest reaches of the American legal field, check out this profile in the Washington Post. Her list of accomplishments is long. She was a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer—whose seat she will take when he resigns if she is confirmed, a former public defender, served four years on the bipartisan U.S. Sentencing Commission, which shapes federal sentencing policy, and is now a federal judge. She is also the mother to two daughters and a big fan of Survivor and American Idol. You know, because we all need equal parts high-brow and low-brow in our lives, right??Late last month, the legendary doctor and global health advocate for the world’s poorest people, Paul Farmer, passed away. The loss of the founder of Partners In Health, one of the most influential global healthcare nonprofits in the world, was a tremendous blow. Yet, his life, and his incredible achievements, were more than inspirational. This story from Vox digs into four key ways “his life offers lessons on how to help people in need and create the communities we want;” lessons, the author says, that “can serve as a roadmap back to hope.” If Paul Farmer’s name is a new one to you, you might also pick up Tracy Kidder’s masterful biography of the doctor called “Mountains Beyond Mountains.” It is a stunning page-turner of a book that will fill you with wonder, awe and, optimism. Perhaps just what we need during this rather dark moment…

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March 4, 2022

Understandably all eyes have been on Ukraine these last several days. It’s horrible to see what’s happening there. If you’re struggling to talk to your children about the war, this post from our favorite college professor, Emily Oster, might help. It’s a list of tips for how to talk about hard things with your children, which means it will be useful whether you want to talk about the war in Ukraine or a sick relative or any of the other tricky topics that come up every day. You can also check out this post, which Oster references, by Dr. Aliza W. Pressman, a psychologist and clinical professor in pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Pressman is perhaps best known for her podcast, Raising Good Humans. She focuses specifically on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has useful advice on how to approach conversations about current events with school-aged children.Even if many of us are transfixed by the tragedy unfolding in Eastern Europe, there is also other news to report, including President Biden’s nomination of the first Black woman to the Supreme Court. To learn more about his nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson, and her road from her home in Miami to Harvard University to the highest reaches of the American legal field, check out this profile in the Washington Post. Her list of accomplishments is long. She was a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer—whose seat she will take when he resigns if she is confirmed, a former public defender, served four years on the bipartisan U.S. Sentencing Commission, which shapes federal sentencing policy, and is now a federal judge. She is also the mother to two daughters and a big fan of Survivor and American Idol. You know, because we all need equal parts high-brow and low-brow in our lives, right??Late last month, the legendary doctor and global health advocate for the world’s poorest people, Paul Farmer, passed away. The loss of the founder of Partners In Health, one of the most influential global healthcare nonprofits in the world, was a tremendous blow. Yet, his life, and his incredible achievements, were more than inspirational. This story from Vox digs into four key ways “his life offers lessons on how to help people in need and create the communities we want;” lessons, the author says, that “can serve as a roadmap back to hope.” If Paul Farmer’s name is a new one to you, you might also pick up Tracy Kidder’s masterful biography of the doctor called “Mountains Beyond Mountains.” It is a stunning page-turner of a book that will fill you with wonder, awe and, optimism. Perhaps just what we need during this rather dark moment…

read more

February 18, 2022

Here’s an interesting, if perhaps not all that surprising, pandemic trend: a rise in the popularity of home births. Although hospital births still account for most deliveries in the U.S. there was a 22 percent increase in home births between 2019 and 2020. Among Black women specifically—who may want to avoid the higher rates of negative outcomes for women of color during hospital births compared to white women—there was a 38 percent increase in the number of home births between just March and December 2020. Yet one major hurdle remains for women who would prefer to have their babies in the comfort of their own homes: Insurers who often refuse to cover the costs of home births. Some in the field are calling the situation a “major women’s health issue.” For the women who’ve chosen the home birth path, the obstacles are frustrating. But few regret their choice.Not sure about you, but we’re still enjoying watching as much of the Olympics as we can fit in (hello new post bed-time routine). And we’ve been especially gripped by the story of Mikaela Shiffrin’s setbacks during these games and her openness about them, too. Although, of course, she’s not the only athlete—and great champion—to experience disappointment in China. Which is why this piece, about the way athletes approach failure, mental health and more, as well as how much the rest of us can learn from that, caught our eye. While Simone Biles started the conversation last summer, the writer here suggests that “these new struggles advance the discussion and challenge a surprised audience to think more broadly about what it means to strive and disappoint.” There is a danger, he explains, to “weaponizing rarefied success as a standard instead of preserving it as an exceptional act.” Because, of course, the great irony of sports is that winning is rarely the rule. Failure is what happens most. But losing, he points out importantly, “remains the greatest teacher.”

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February 4, 2022

We could all use a bit of bright, happy news, right? Well this story certainly fits the bill. It’s about a 190-year-old tortoise living on St. Helena Island, a tiny British territory thousands of miles off the African coast. Turns out the 440-pound tortoise is named Jonathan and he is the oldest living land animal in the world. There may be sharks that are older, but Jonathan, who is believed to have hatched in 1832, is the grand poobah of the land-living lot. The stories he must have! If only we could speak tortoise…Although it might feel like we were all just watching the summer Olympics, it’s time now to tune into the 2022 winter games in Beijing, which begin today. And, in honor of the event, we thought this story about a young woman named Eileen Gu, who at 18 years old just happens to be the best female freeskier in the world right now, would be of interest. Because what makes Gu’s story particularly noteworthy is not just her incredible skill and high-flying tricks. It’s the fact that the California native, born to a Chinese mother and American father, has chosen to compete for China instead of the U.S. It’s an unusual move and some wonder if Gu, who decided to make the switch at 15, was really capable at that age of understanding the implications of her choice. Either way, it makes for compelling reading because her decision necessitates deftly navigating the worlds of politics, diplomacy and the media, something that can be difficult to handle for even the savviest athletes and celebrities.

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