Siobhan Kelleher Kukolic

Words to inspire the belief that we have all we need to be the change we wish to see.

Our guitar solo of a life

Physician and speaker BJ Miller was chatting on Freakonomics Radio, and he asked what we are all doing with our guitar solo of a life. He became a triple-amputee when electrocuted on top of a train while a student at Princeton and he specializes in end-of-life care.

He talked about death being something everyone should learn about in school and how it is part of the beautiful journey of life. I’m sure he has had many conversations with those in their final days about what they would do differently if they had more time.

What are we all doing with our guitar solo? Are we playing with abandon, living out our dreams, passionate about jumping out of bed in the morning? Continue reading

We only see two per cent

I was listening to Kevin Kelly, the founding executive editor of Wired Magazine, on the Freakonomics podcast. He mentioned how research shows that when we meet someone, we only see two per cent of who they are and they only see two per cent of who we are. Everyone has a story that many of us don’t know about. So keep that perspective before making a judgement. Often we decide things off that ‘first impression.’ But there is so much more to it.

He also said we only know about ten per cent of ourselves. Imagine that! We’ve known ourselves for our whole life, yet we have so much more to learn about who we are. Continue reading

AJ Croce

I heard a moving story on the radio show Sunday Morning about Father’s Day. It was about AJ Croce, a singer and musician, who has suffered much loss in his life.

Just before his second birthday, his musician father died in a plane crash. In the next few years, his mother’s boyfriend physically abused him and caused him to become blind. His family home burned down when he was fifteen and his wife recently passed away of a rare heart condition. Lots of tragedy. Continue reading

Baby’s First Years

I was listening to the Freakonomics podcast, and they were talking about a study that was very interesting.

It was called Baby’s First Years. “The larger trial, the first direct poverty reduction evaluation in the United States to focus on early childhood, recruited 1,000 mothers with low incomes from postpartum wards in a dozen hospitals in four U.S. metropolitan areas: New Orleans, New York City, Omaha, and Minneapolis/St. Paul. Shortly after they gave birth, participating mothers were randomized to receive either a large monthly cash gift of $333/month or a nominal monthly cash gift of $20/month. The mothers will continue to receive the cash gifts, funded by charitable foundations, until their children are four years and four months old.” And they could spend the money however they chose.

The report goes on to explain, “Under the direction of lead author Sonya Troller-Renfree, postdoctoral research associate at Teachers College, Columbia University, brain activity was measured using electroencephalography (EEG), a technique in which a cap is placed on an infant’s head and used to record the brain’s electrical activity (known colloquially as “brainwaves”). Past research has linked high-frequency – that is, fast – brain activity to the development of thinking and learning. The study reports that infants whose mothers received $333/month had more high-frequency brain activity compared with infants whose mothers received $20/month.”

Three hundred dollars a month made a difference. The money may have been used for nutritious foods, activities, books… or maybe it just removed some of the stress the parents shouldered to make ends meet. But the end result was more brain activity linked to learning for babies in those families who received the higher amount of money.

As Nelson Mandela once said, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”

How are we helping our children? Affordable daycare, mental health resources, breakfast programs, government credits for families, supports for children with special needs?

Can corporations help when they have social responsibility on their agendas? Can politicians lobby for their constituents?

Governments increased some supports for families during the pandemic, but the needs don’t disappear season to season.

As John Wesley said, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

Our children are the future. What can we do to help them lead the way?


So many questions

I have so many questions floating around in my mind this week. I was listening to the Freakonomics podcast, and they mentioned how post-secondary schooling used to be tightly tied to industry. Organizations may even have been involved in the training and then they did their hiring right from the school. But those ties seemed to have been lost in many instances so young people have a harder time getting a job in their field after graduating. How can we solve that problem? Continue reading

Election week

We have an election this week in our province and voting is as important as ever. We’ve come through a challenging few years with the pandemic and everyone has issues that are important to them. Whether it’s education or healthcare or housing or mental health. We must be hopeful that change will come and we can help move towards that change with our vote. Continue reading

This Is Us

This week the final episode of This Is Us will air. For those who watched the series, we learned about love, loss, parenting, grief, shame, trauma, and how to deal with losing a loved one, among many other invaluable lessons.

It was sometimes hard to watch, and often heavy, but in the end This Is Us is all of us. Continue reading

Kentucky Derby

The second-biggest upset in Kentucky Derby history happened last weekend. A horse was pulled from the race the day before the event and another horse that was not meant to be in the race, Rich Strike, was put in.

Rich Strike’s odds of winning were eighty to one.

But I guess no one told the horse. Continue reading

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