We as parents stumble along trying to make sense of the world as we make sure our kids grow up healthy and educated. One thing that we often encounter is the mysterious world of statistics.
We scour the literature trying to find out what is best for our kids, and search for ways to better educate them. The questions include “Is my child doomed because I am medically unable to breastfeed?”, or “Should I move out to city to the suburbs for my children?” and on and on. I have no answers to those questions. I only wish to introduce you to the weird and wonderful world of statistics.
Sure, you can read about how one can use wording to distort reality in the classic book How to Lie with Statistics, or learn basic statistics from Manga Guide to Statistics (recommended for middle school and up kids), or even evaluate science reporting with Lies, Damned Lies, and Science: How to Sort through the Noise around Global Warming, the Latest Health Claims, and Other Scientific Controversies.
They are all interesting (and worth your while), but they come alive with Dr. Rosling’s visual representations of statistics.
A good introduction into his work is the fifteen minute The good news of the decade?. Pay close attention to the change in specific countries and the relationship between child mortality and family size. What are “Western” versus “Developing” countries? Answer the question of which is which after watching this video.
You should watch more of Dr. Rosling. He has many more videos at TED and at Gap Minder. For a full understanding on why child health is so important watch the almost forty minute long video on the importance of global vaccination at the 3rd Northern European Conference on Travel Medicine.
In conclusion, there is much injustice in the world, but there are always improvements that need to be made. We try our best to beat the statistics, and focus our charitable offerings to those that help. Since our oldest son received invaluable therapy from the RiteCare of Washington that is where most of our charitable contributions go. But for other global charities check out these at: Foundation Beyond Belief Current Beneficiaries.