February 18, 2022
“Mommy, come here, you’re not gonna like it!” is just one of themany fun ways my 4yo likes to start a conversation.
--Be Kind of Witty,
Decision-making can be hard. From the trivial—what do we want to make for dinner?—to the serious—should we move?—any type of decision can feel cumbersome and overwhelming depending on your day, how you slept and everything in between. But this guide proves handy if you’re interested in getting better, and smarter, at making the call.
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.”
The world loves to eat meat. But the agriculture sector accounts for a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions every year with the meat and dairy industry producing the most emissions of all. And, within that sector, beef production is the single worst offender. In come two scientists—Lisa Dyson and John Reed—working together at the Department of Energy’s Berkeley Lab who wanted to stem climate change by rethinking the way meat is made. Their answer? Air! Yes, air, or carbon dioxide, to be more precise. And, after many years tinkering, they created Air Protein in 2019. The company combines hydrogenotrophic microbes, grown inside fermentation tanks, with a mix of carbon dioxide, oxygen, minerals, water, and nitrogen to create a flour dense with meat-like protein. Then, using cooking techniques they make steaks, salmon filets and the like. The technology is not only climate-saving, but cost-effective and has attracted not a little attention from investors. Could this be the future of dinner??
You probably put a helmet on your child when you go out biking or skateboarding or maybe even scootering. But what about when you hit the hills to go skiing or sledding? While many of us likely not only make our kids wear helmets for skiing, but wear them ourselves, too, a recent poll from the University of Michigan Health found that just “three-quarters of parents say their child consistently wears a helmet when downhill skiing or snowboarding, and two in three parents report their child never wears a helmet sledding.” Surprising? Maybe. Important to know? For sure. Although some parents may not consider sledding as dangerous as other winter sports, sledding injuries are not uncommon. That’s why discussing the safety rules for sledding and wearing the appropriate protective gear is so crucial. For more safety tips for sledding, skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling, check out this full article from Michigan Health.
All this talk of safety measures actually got us thinking about the opposite: risk. Or, to be more specific, how much risk to let children take when playing or doing outdoor sports? How much hovering by parents is too much hovering? How much should we let our children explore, even if it comes with the possibility of getting hurt? What are the benefits of keeping a close eye and, conversely, of allowing our children a freer hand? The answers to these questions will, of course, be different for every family. But this piece from the New York Times about the value of risky play may be instructive. As one expert in the story has found in her research, risky play “helps children explore and conquer fears, develop confidence and reduce anxiety.” It can encourage independence and help children test their limits. The same researcher advised that “most children will stop when the fear becomes overwhelming,” even sometimes asking for help. None of which is to say that parents should ignore obvious danger signs (broken playground structures, heavily trafficked roads, etc). But maybe we could stand to stand by a bit more than we have before?? It's food for thought, at least.