What Does It Take to be “Lucky”?

By Dr. Elizabeth Cousens

May 10, 2016

Every time you ‘like’ and share this post, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 (per social action), up to $350,000, via the Global Moms Relay, to help improve the health and well-being of families worldwide in support of Shot@LifeGirl Up, Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund, UNICEF USA and Nothing But Nets. More below!

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about luck. The luck we create, the luck that finds us, and the luck that has blessed my family.

Luck brought my grandmother to California when her Swiss Italian family got on a boat at the turn of the last century and was welcomed by a new country, without walls, that understood their desire for opportunity.

Luck gave my father the education to make a life for himself beyond the one he was born to, hitting the pavement in Hell’s Kitchen as a shoeblack from a tender age, but living in a city that believed in world class education for all.

“I think a lot about what it will take for our son Wyatt to be ‘lucky’ as he grows up. To live in a welcoming community, to learn, to be healthy.”

Luck gave my own mom an incredible mother who survived domestic abuse and worked tirelessly to give her daughter and disabled son a good life, and whom I was lucky enough to have as a constant and present inspiration for most of my life.

Luck allowed me to recover from cancer with the best medical care in the world and the insane luck of having a phenomenal, brave, and unrelenting mother and father who got me through it.

Elizabeth's son Wyatt was born in the Rift Valley of Ethiopia.

Elizabeth’s son Wyatt was born in the Rift Valley of Ethiopia.

Luck also created my own family. What amazing alchemy of technology and connections could unite two parents in Brooklyn with a boy born in the Rift Valley of Ethiopia who is our pride, our joy, and our center? Wyatt, almost seven, teaches us every day about luck.

Lucky also for all of us to be living on this remarkable planet. Whatever you believe about its creation, this miraculous, humming web of life feeds us, allows us to breathe, protects us, and inspires us. I remember the utter delight Wyatt experienced the first time a monarch butterfly landed on his shoulder. Wyatt’s first favorite book was a guidebook to the birds of Southern Africa and he learned to say “wingspan” practically before he said Mom. He and his dad have a grand plan to see all the world’s big cats. His favorite story is about his dad’s encounter with a silverback gorilla in Rwanda (flatulence was involved). He sees a dazzling natural world that he is hungry to explore from its glaciers to its coral reefs.

So I think a lot about what it will take for our son Wyatt to be “lucky” as he grows up. To live in a welcoming community, to learn, to be healthy, to be enthralled by the natural world, to be protected by a healthy climate, and to have a vibrant future that always has more possibility than the past. His luck, as a kid growing up in the United States, should also be the luck of every child on this planet.

Wyatt enjoys exploring, seen here on a family fishing trip.

Wyatt enjoys exploring, seen here on a family fishing trip.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about action, about intention, and about being a mom. Luck is powerful, but luck is on steroids when it collides with human compassion, ingenuity, and action. And it’s crazy powerful when it’s in the hands of moms. In 2030, Wyatt will be 21. World leaders have now adopted a set of global goals that would give Wyatt and all our kids a bright and sustainable future by 2030. Moms need to hold them to it. We can get a lot done in 15 years. And if moms have anything to do with it, I know we will.


You share, they give: Each time you ‘like’ or share this post via the social media icons on this post or comment below, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 (per action) up to $350,000 to Shot@LifeGirl Up, Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund, U.S. Fund for UNICEF and Nothing But Nets.

The Global Moms Relay was created by the United Nations Foundation and  Johnson & Johnson with support from BabyCenter, Global Citizen and Fatherly, to  help  improve the lives of families around the globe. Share this post with the hashtags #GlobalMom and #JNJ, and visit GlobalMomsRelay.org to learn more.

You can also use the Donate A Photo* app and Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 when you upload a photo for Girl Up, U.S. Fund for UNICEF or Nothing But Nets, up to $150,000. You can help make a difference in seconds with the click ofyour mouse or snap of your smart phone.

* via the Donate A Photo app for iOS and Android. Johnson & Johnson has curated a list of trusted causes, and you can donate a photo to one cause, once a day. Each cause will appear in the app until it reaches its goal, or the donation period ends. If the goal isn’t reached, the cause will still get a minimum donation.

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