Friday, January 17, 2014

WIRTW #304 (the “happy life” edition)

I sometimes use this weekly space to get personal. Today will be one of those posts.

My 5-year-old son, Donovan, was born with Noonan Syndrome. NS is a variably expressed, multisystem genetic disorder, occurring in every 1 in 1,000 – 2,500 births. In Donovan’s manifestation, he has, among other things, pulmonary valve stenosis and a platelet function disorder, and is, and will likely always be, small in stature (although given that I’m not quite 5’ 7” and my wife not quite 4’ 11”, the genetic height cards were stacked against him anyway). We are extraordinarily thankful that Donovan seems to have dodged the developmental and learning disorders that can occur. As we have learned in the five years since his diagnosis, however, something new is always around the bend. (For more information on Noonan Syndrome, please visit the website for the Noonan Syndrome Foundation, an organization to which I am proud to volunteer my time as its outside counsel.)

A few months ago Donovan caught some of Life According to Sam, the stunning and moving HBO documentary chronicling the life of Sam Berns, his struggle with Progeria, and his family’s quest for better understanding of, and cure for, this rare genetic disorder. Donovan, whose television diet usually revolves around SpongeBob and Pixar, became transfixed by this very adult story. After watching most of it in silence, he turned to my wife and me and asked, “Am I going to die like that boy?” It was our first real glimpse that Donovan has an understanding of the medical issues with which he lives.

Last Friday, Sam Berns died. A few months before his passing, he gave a Ted Talk, entitled, My Philosophy for a Happy Life. It is well worth 12:45 of your time.

We should all embrace the small things, and live a happier life as a result.

Here’s the rest of what I read this week:


Social Media & Workplace Technology

HR & Employee Relations

Wage & Hour

Labor Relations