Archive for 2020

My 1000 Small Steps – March 20, 2020

Posted on: March 20th, 2020 by Kathie England | Time for Success 1 Comment

Five Big Steps

by Kathie England

Inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s newest book, Tightrope, I step boldly away from proposing small steps this month. Instead, I share five big steps they suggest to regain America.

High-quality early childhood programs

Kristof and WuDunn believe this may be the single best thing we could do in the United States to help at-risk children. They cite findings from the National Academies of Sciences, Medicine and Engineering 2019 report that “each year child poverty costs Americans about $1 trillion in crime, education and welfare costs and related expenses. It is estimated that child poverty could be cut by more than half in ten years with a series of steps costing about one-tenth as much, $100 billion a year, while also creating jobs.”

For families living under the poverty level, childcare now consumes almost one-third of family income.

Universal high-school graduation

In the U.S. one child in seven doesn’t graduate from high school on time (including one-fourth of black students). These dropouts rarely have much of a future. This number is in sharp contrast to graduation rates in Japan, Russia, Ireland, and Finland where the drop-out rate is less than 3 percent. Offering apprenticeship programs, vocational training, career academies, and other similar efforts would increase the odds that students who stick with high school will be able to find a job at the end.

Universal health coverage

This idea was first proposed by President Harry Truman seven decades ago. Universal access to affordable healthcare would prevent millions of Americans from slipping through the myriad of cracks discussed in Tightrope, including impaired national competitiveness, reduced life expectancy, and the individual heartbreak described by Kristof and WuDunn, not only in Yamhill County, Oregon where Kristof grew up but throughout the United States.

Elimination of unwanted pregnancies

“Teenage pregnancy is a major precursor of poverty.” Ample evidence shows that free access to long-acting reversible contraceptives and other types of contraceptives can reduce unwanted pregnancies. A $1 dollar investment in this type of program reaps $7 in savings. It dramatically improves the odds of teenage girls graduating from high school. It also means fewer abortions.

A monthly child allowance

“Research shows that a government payment of about $250 a month to each household with a child would give poorer children a better start in life.” This type of allowance has been successful in Canada, Australia, and nearly every European county. This allowance would virtually eliminate children living in extreme poverty in the United States.

Last month I urged readers to sponsor a child through Save the Children. The five-year-old girl I sponsored lives in South Carolina where nearly 25% of the state’s children live at or below the poverty line. 40% live in extreme poverty in the communities where Save the Children works.

Once again I invite you to take a small step by sponsoring a child through Save the Children.

https://savethechildren.org

I end this month’s post with a quote from James Baldwin. This quote opened that last chapter in Tightrope titled “America Regained.”

“I know what I am asking is impossible. But in our time, as in every time, the impossible is the least that one can demand.”

James Baldwin

My 1000 Small Steps – February 20, 2020

Posted on: February 20th, 2020 by Kathie England | Time for Success No Comments

Tightrope

by Kathie England

Tightrope, the title of the newest book by Pulitzer Prize-winning authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, is the metaphor describing the life of America’s working class for whom one misstep is frequently a catastrophe. “Stagnant wages, weak education, bad decisions and a lack of healthcare force millions of Americans into a precarious balancing act that many of them fail to master.”

Speaking in Portland, Oregon earlier this month they posed three questions often heard as they researched their book:

  • Isn’t this crisis really about personal responsibility?
  • Isn’t this situation really hopeless?
  • Why should I care?

With vivid examples, many of them drawn from Yamhill, Oregon where Nick grew up, Kristof and WuDunn offer an alternate view. If America is to remain vital, it must empower all its people.

They shared stunning statistics from research by Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution. For people who graduate from high school, get a full-time job, and marry before having children, only 2 percent live in poverty. Of those who do none of those three things, 79 percent live in poverty.

Kristof and WuDunn acknowledge that many individuals do make irresponsible choices, yet the results are also caused by the collective irresponsibility of society. They propose three solutions that could dramatically impact the lives of working class Americans:

  • Early childhood education
  • Drug rehabilitation
  • Job creation

How does this conversation fit with My 1000 Small Steps?

Each of their books ends with “Ten Steps You Can Take in the Next Ten Minutes to Make a Difference.” Here is one of the ten steps from Tightrope: sponsor a child in the United States through Save the Childrenhttps://savethechildren.org. On this website you can click the link about sponsoring children in the U.S.

I just sponsored a five-year-old girl. Will you accept this challenge and do the same?

 

My 1000 Small Steps – January 20, 2020

Posted on: January 20th, 2020 by Kathie England | Time for Success No Comments

Three Minutes a Day

by Kathie England

On this fourth anniversary of launching My 1000 Small Steps journey, I share the perspective of Richard Davidson, the Founder of the Center for Healthy Minds based at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Davidson’s work has demonstrated the neuroplasticity of the human brain – a cause for hope.

The goal of My 1000 Small Steps journey is to prevent the results of the presidential election on November 3, 2020 from leaving so many of us with the same feelings of disbelief, despair, and doom we experienced on the morning after the 2016 presidential election.

It is ironic that this anniversary of my first post on January 20, 2017 coincides with the week that the impeachment trial of the president begins in the Senate.

This month’s post was inspired by Davidson’s October 2019 TEDx Talk in San Francisco where he explains how three minutes a day can begin to help each of us create a healthier mind. He begins by identifying four challenges facing society today: distraction, loneliness, depression, and low-life purpose. Each of these challenges affects our well-being. (I wonder how these challenges facing so many people in this country impacted the results of the 2016 election.)

Emphasizing the power of neuroplasticity, Davidson’s work has identified four pillars of a healthy mind: awareness/attention, connection, insight, and purpose. He explains that it is possible with just three minutes a day to begin to establish daily habits that nourish our minds.

I invite you to step into this realm of possibility by watching Davidson’s recent TEDx Talk.

https://www.ted.com/talks/richard_j_davidson_how_mindfulness_changes_the_emotional_life_of_our_brains_jan_2019?utm_campaign=3b359861f4-Jan2020_TEDx1D&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Center+Members&utm_term=0_4a32dc39b4-3b359861f4-9744669

You can even begin your own practice of developing a healthier mind by downloading this app: https://tryhealthyminds.org/ That small step will nourish your mind and change our world.

“Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.