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CNBC's The Profit

Tami spent a good part of her life working jobs that didn’t necessarily agree that time off with a new baby — for either or both parents — was a good idea.

Then she met Marcus Lemonis of the CNBC reality show "The Profit," which takes over struggling businesses and turns them around. She was offered paid maternity leave and, soon after, was made co-owner of the Key West Key Lime Pie Company.


Her experience was an exception, however.

Paid maternity leave is something the United States is actually really far behind the rest of the world on.

Here’s a map that kinda brings it into shocking perspective.

This map shows countries with paid leave from work for mothers of infants. Graphic via WORLD Policy Analysis Center at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

When new mothers are forced to go right back to work, they can experience all sorts of negative health issues, such as post-partum depression, extreme fatigue, physical problems related to childbirth, and more. Conversely, children who have their mothers at home tend to be healthier.

Here are a few of the benefits kids see when their mothers can stay with them:

  • They're less likely to get respiratory infections.
  • They're more likely to be current with immunizations.
  • They're more likely to breast-feed during infancy (with its well-established benefits).
  • And, in general, they're less likely to die between 0 and 5 years.

For a country that professes to care so much about our children, the United States sure seems behind the curve with family leave.

Thankfully, small businesses are generally more likely to support family life and the ability to take time off to deal with health crises and having kids and the things that go along with, you know, life. They're just more able to have that personal touch and to get to know employees personally.

When we lose small businesses to big corporations buying or forcing them out of business, we lose some of that personal, family touch.

GIF from "The Profit Effect: The Working Parent & Paid Parental Leave."

A few big companies, such as Netflix, have begun offering paid parental leave, but sometimes to salaried professionals only, not to the hourly workers who usually need it the most. Others have followed suit; Nestle and Virgin are now offering paid family leave, though in the latter case, once again, for management only. Another, The Gates Foundation, recently began offering up to one full year of paid family leave.

Also, the U.S. Family Medical Leave Act can provide some unpaid time off (up to 12 weeks), but 40% of U.S. workers do not qualify. In addition, how many people who are already making close to poverty-level wages can actually take unpaid time off and not lose their home, car, or everything? It's a stop-gap measure at best.

Becoming a small-business owner reinforced Tami's view of paid parental leave — one that she formed when she didn't have access to it.

It's interesting hearing her perspective after becoming The Boss. For some folks, it might change their mind.

Not her. Watch:

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.

Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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