Parents everywhere have concerns about what will happen to their children and families after they are gone. On an abstract level, older generations worry about whether they are leaving their children better opportunities to live the good life, meaning a life safe and free from harm as well as one offering freedom to make ethical choices and to actively engage with others in the places where they live.
For parents of children with development disabilities, this concern is not an abstraction.
Media recognition of social enterprise overwhelmingly focuses on social entrepreneurs whose initiatives are the passions of the technology moguls and philanthropists of Silicon Valley. Here in Michigan, however, social entrepreneurs are relying, not only on innovative ways to deal with large ethical problems, from food justice to restorative justice, they are relying on a new legal form to do something and to make a difference.
Public awareness of pediatric bioethics dilemmas is often limited to media reports dramatizing conflicts over the rights of families and doctors in determining the circumstances for performing highly experimental surgeries or limiting life-saving treatments to seriously ill newborns, today remembered as educational case studies or lawsuit names--from Baby Fae to Baby K.
Our inaugural podcast of the Atlas of Ethics begins, appropriately enough, with a fascinating discussion of an ethical idea that concerns our obligations toward those close to us, that is our families and relations, and to those close by, such as our neighbors.
Sometimes, when we ask people to talk about the ethics of their work and the pathways they have taken to be where they are, they offer up their best linear moves and memories. Many of our listeners are interested in learning the point-a-to-b directions people follow as well as the google maps they rely on along the way.
Perhaps you have had a discussion with friends about the best attributes you want in your own doctor.
At A2Ethics.org, we have recently had such a chat (More on an entirely different kind of chat in a moment). One quality we decided is truly essential: the doctor who listens, not only to our hearts and lungs, but who actually listens to what we say and hears us out. In other words, we want our doctor to give us a fair amount of time. We don’t need all day. Just enough to get our concerns circulated and aired in a fair-minded and nonjudgmental manner.
In October 2010, A2Ethics.org had the distinct honor of hosting Bede Sheppard, the senior researcher in the children's rights division of Human Rights Watch. We know it as the Sheppard conference. Not only did Bede visit Ann Arbor to give a keynote lecture for our Ethics Without Borders Education Project, he taught a class of high school students about his work, talked again about it at lunch, and then attended a reception and dinner, where we asked him the same questions.