Thinking Citizen Blog — The “Baby Box” Plan (Part I) — Orion, Alnilam, and the Seven Joy Day

Thinking Citizen Blog — Thursday is Health, Health Care and Global Health Policy Day

Today’s Topic: The “Baby Box” Plan (Part Two) — Orion, Alnilam, and the Seven Joy Day

As continuity is key to both clarity and depth of thought, let me devote today’s post to developing the best single health policy idea I think I ever had. It was first sketched last week. I have not decided yet how to brand it. Any suggestions welcome. The title does honor to the Finnish origins of the idea, but perhaps it should be called the “Family Box” or the “Parent Box” plan — because the initial recipients are the parents and the idea is to create a healthy home for parent and child. To remind you, the premises behind the box are: a.) that, consistent with the Heckman curve, the earlier the intervention the better, b.) the intervention must be holistic (the box must include three compartments — the basics such as diapers and blankets, the financial, and the “value kit” or “education kit, c.) the “education kit” must be both reasonably simple and reasonably complete. In today’s post I develop further the idea of the “education kit.” This post is on “health” day rather than “education” day to underscore the inseparability of health and education policy. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

THE ORION ANALOGY — an idea for the graphic on the top of the box

1. If a picture is worth a thousand words in general, a really, really good one is worth a million or a billion.

2. The seven star constellation is by far the most spectacular sight in the night sky in the northern hemisphere. And the night sky is the greatest show on earth.

3. But I didn’t know Orion existed until I was in over 50 years old even though on paper I appear highly educated. And I didn’t know Orion has precisely seven shape-defining stars, I just wasn’t paying attention.

NB: With this baby box every parent will learn to pay attention with open eyes, an open heart, and open eyes to everything around them and to model that attitude of gratitude for their children. In case you have not heard, there are three ways to teach — by example, by example, and by example.

DECONSTRUCTING ORION — the Belt and Alnilam

1. Education is about telling stories and teaching kids how to tell stories. Stories about the night sky and the day sky. Stories about how cars work and how air conditioners work. How bodies work from the heart to the kidney and the brain. What is the story of Orion?

2. Any story worth telling probably has at least seven elements — seven characters or seven plot twists or some combination of characters and plot twists. But remembering any more than seven is just too hard for the teller or the listener. The seven stars of Orion are the seven things most worth remembering from any story.

3. The three stars of Orion’s belt are the most important of those seven. The central star of Alnilam (the supergiant) is the most important of the three. You could think of it as the moral of the fable. The takeway. The bottom line.

NB: The most important story to tell a child is the one worth repeating to yourself every day — the story of how to live. The Alnilam of that story is gratitude. Alnilam’s companions in the belt of Orion are kindness and courage. The outer stars are prudence (common sense), temperance (self-control), diligence (hard work) and excellence (always striving to be the best you can be). Reasonably simple story. Reasonably complete. If you can think of a better package, I’m all ears.


1. The baby box should include in its “education” compartment a schedule for the baby’s perfect day which would be every day.

2. Every day a little taste of each of the seven joys of life — a little dancing (movement, sports, fitness), a little music (which goes with dancing), a little art (looking at, talking about color, pattern, shape in the sky, in fabric, furniture), a little math (counting fingers, stars in constellations, chairs, cheerios), a little literature (reading, story telling), a little science (the names of parts of the body or an appliance or a car or a meal, or the story of how to cook).

3. A separate family book for each of the seven joys — each parent should learn how to keep records of what they learn as their joy of learning grows as they learn more to help their children learn becoming life long learners themselves.

NB: As a parent myself, I had no greater thrill than learning the names of and differences between trees, flowers, fruit, and leaves so that I could pass on that knowledge and sense of wonder and appreciation to the manifold beauty of nature to which I had until then been blind. For the last three years of posts organized by theme:

PDF with headlines — Google Drive


Please share the most interesting thing you learned in the last week related to health, health care or health care policy — the ethics, economics, politics, history…. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to health are or health care policy that the rest of us may have missed. Or just some random health-related fact that blew you away.



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