Love beyond labels

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The video below, part of the Ad Council’s Love Has No Labels campaign, will have you wiping away the tears and feeling good about the many faces of love. The year-long campaign is tackling bias, the many ways we judge people without being aware of the harm we are doing.

On the site you’ll find stories about Cody, who has Down syndrome, Edward, who at 56 is experiencing ageism in the work place, Alexis, who continually endures being considered an Oreo (black on the outside, white on the inside), and others whose stories give insight into the impact of biases.

Take the quiz to check your own biases, read the tips for fighting bias and prejudice, and be part of this effort to unravel the biases that keep us from fully loving and accepting each other.



Mindfulness for children

Child meditating, photo from NCVO London, via Flickr Creative Commons

When Julie Bayer Salzman and Josh Salzman overheard their 5-year-old son talking about things like the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex and how they were affected by emotions, they wanted to know more. The Citizens of the World Charter School in Mar Vista, California was teaching the children mindfulness. It was making a difference.

You can hear the children talking about it in this unscripted video. If every child learned these techniques, the world would be a very different place.

You can learn more about education for mindfulness at Mindful Schools.


Hope inspires the good to reveal itself

Photo by DMedina, via morgueFule

Photo by DMedina, via morgueFule

“A great truth, attributed to Emily Dickinson, is that ‘hope inspires the good to reveal itself. This is almost all I ever need to remember. Gravity and sadness yank us down, and hope gives us a nudge to help one another get back up or to sit with the fallen on the ground, in the abyss, in solidarity.”

~ Anne Lamott, Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair


A most compassionate child


Photo by Rainer Voegli, via Flickr Creative Commons

This three-year-old child does not want to eat the deep-fried octopus on his plate. Each question he asks moves him and his mother deeper into his ethical dilemma: He does not want animals killed so he can eat them. The octopus is an animal. So are chickens and cows and pigs. He insists humans must take care of them, not kill them.

Millions have watched and been touched by the compassion and high-level reasoning of the toddler.


Designer spends each day’s 86,400 seconds well

Elvis de Leon; photo clip from John X. Carey's video, below

His mother was murdered when Elvis De Leon was 16 years old. He could have turned to gang violence. Instead, he turned to design and became a successful graphic designer.

John X. Carey produced a short film, set in the gritty streets of Harlem, in which Elvis de Leon compares living purposefully to starting each day with $84,600 in your bank account. At the end of the day it is gone so spend it well. Make something positive with your life.

So, OK, the 84,600 is slight reversal of two digits (60 x 60 x 24 = 86,400), but the message is a good one. Make each day’s seconds count.


Kindergarten for the real child

Roof of the Tokyo kindergarten designed by Takaharu Tezuka; photo clip from video below

Real children do not sit in rows or at work stations, at least not for long. They jump up, run around, tumble, laugh and explore. Architect Takaharu Tezuka designed a kindergarten for real children.

It is a big circle where children can rum and jump, climb trees, hang their legs out over space, move cubes around to design their learning area, and generally be themselves. This is a kindergarten built to encourage imagination and movement.

Takaharu Tezuka makes the point that architects can design for humans, in world-changing way. This school is a good example of his vision in action.


Meet ten talented lifers

These ten women are in prison for life without the possibility of parole. Their identities are reduced to the numbers assigned their cases and the convictions that put them behind bars.

But these Muncy State Prison inmates want people to understand they are not just convicted criminals. They are women with hopes, fears and sorrows. They have spent their entire adult lives in prison – two, three, even four decades.


Ravaged bodies, intact spirits

Nation Swell keeps coming up with inspiring stories. That means a lot to me. As an expat, I weary of all the downer stories about my home country, the U.S.A. Nation Swell brings me regular reasons to be hope-full about America.

On September 1st the site published a story about a competition for war vets. The Triumph Games focus on strengths rather than deficits. In This Competition Tests Veterans, Celebrates Their Resiliency, Chris Peak introduces us to Redmond “Red” Ramos. He lost his left leg to an IED (improvised explosive device) as a Marine in Afghanistan. Since then he has been racking up medals in sports competitions.

The Triumph Games gave him the chance to compete against 11 other veterans unwilling to be slowed by war wounds. On October 17, 2015, the Terrific Twelve will compete in the 2015 games, a televised event “to celebrate the successes of military veterans.”