Listening at bedtime

PUBLISHED ON  March 20, 2014

WRITTEN BY  Roni Zeiger

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At bedtime, my daughter and I sometimes play word or number games instead of reading. The other night, she suggested we play a variant of Pictionary, where one of us thinks of a word and tries to get the other to guess it by drawing it. She also suggested we make it harder by having the drawer keep her eyes closed. I jokingly responded, what if we have the guesser keep his eyes closed? That led us to invent a game where the guesser indeed keeps his or her eyes closed, and the drawer limits what they can draw — first we did single digit numbers. It was fascinating and tons of fun to learn to LISTEN to what each number sounds like when written in pencil. (Pencils make much better sounds than pens.) Numbers consistently vary by how many strokes and the cadence of how the strokes are combined — each has a personality. Since I cross my sevens, four and seven sound almost the same, but the final line in seven is crisper and shorter than the final line in four.

Listening at bedtime

We then had the nerve to guess which animal the other was drawing, limiting the options to a list of five. That was harder, but we learned to listen for a cat’s whiskers and a pig’s curly tail.

Here’s to being a better listener!

Empathy for patients AND doctors

PUBLISHED ON  March 12, 2014

WRITTEN BY  Roni Zeiger

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We all know our health care system doesn’t work very well and that it often harms patients. A more subtle point is that for the same reasons, it harms doctors, who came to the profession to do more than they’re typically able to. We can talk about this so that patients and doctors have more empathy for each other.

Empathy is a key requirement for design thinking. Mutual empathy may be a formula for various kinds of collaborative design, but I can’t imagine a more important example than patients and doctors designing better health care together. Maybe an equally important example: patients and researchers better understanding each other and designing better research together. (Thank you Michael Seid for accidentally explaining this to me.)

Gratitude

PUBLISHED ON  February 11, 2014

WRITTEN BY  Roni Zeiger

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Last night, my wife and I took extra long looks at our children as we watched them sleep before heading to bed ourselves. They looked more fragile, precious, so much younger in their sweet sleep. We talked about how grateful we are for them. We breathed deep as we smelled their heads when sneaking in a last kiss good night.

This morning I read a mother’s painful words: “What can you do so we don’t lose him?

I am more grateful for what we have in this world, and driven to more effectively connect us and the knowledge we need to answer her question.