Memorial Day Meeting, May 29, 2019

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Ryan Petersen opened our Memorial Day meeting with a moving tribute to the U.S Army Old Guard, which attends the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. Slides showed these dedicated young men performing the Memorial Day Rituals through driving rain.  The caption posted by the 3rd US Infantry Regiment reads'”Humans have their limits but the Old Guard has yet to meet them.”  Ryan then showed the video of Art Holst reciting the poem, “Freedom Isn’t Free.”

President Greg remarked on the video of  Art Holst’s recital, noting that Fisher House will break ground in June.  This first-in-Michigan home away from home for veterans and their families receiving care at the VA Hospital is a project that was spearheaded, and now brought to fruition, by Karen Kerry and Brad Chick.  Monies are still being raised, and there is a match program going on, so think of making a donation while your generosity will be doubled: fisherhousemichigan.org.

President Greg thanked the people who make the meeting run smoothly and announced birthdays.

Ed Hoffman of the Social Committee invited us to a picnic at our Universal Access Playground in Gallup Park on Sunday, June 23.  The park is overrun with kids and families, a heartwarming sight.  Watch for more information and plan to be there!

President Greg  introduced guests.  Ruth Harris from the Jerusalem Club was there.  The club was sponsored by the Cairo Club and is celebrating its 90th anniversary.

Norman Herbert, filling in for Ashish Sarkar, updated us on the Golf and Tennis Outing.  It will be at Travis Country Club on Monday, September 9.  The goal this year is to raise $50,000 for our projects.  John U. Bacon will be the Speaker, and will sign copies of his new book, Overtime: Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines at the Crossroads of College Football. Sponsors are needed as well as golfers and tennis players.  Kati Bauer is chairing the silent auction and raffle.  If you have a lead on auction items or sponsors, please contact Norman or Kati if you would prefer an Outing Committee member make the “Ask.”

Notes from the Program

John Huber then introduced our speaker, Dr. Jerry Miller.  Dr. Miller received his PhD in Clinical Psychology in 1975 and has since served in key  university leadership roles including Director of UM’s Project Outreach and the University Center for the Child and Family. For the past 43 years he has been a practicing clinical psychologist testing over 2500 gifted and academically talented children and supervising over 1000 more.

Dr. Miller gave a very lively and entertaining talk on “The Power of Birth Order to Shape Our Lives.”  He acknowledged that birth order is a powerful force shaping our lives lives but it is not the definitive arbiter of how children and people turn out.  He demonstrated this by asking us to guess the birth order of three famous people:  Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Charles Darwin.  No one guessed/knew that all three were middle children. The idea that the first born is the smartest and most ambitious, the middle is the peacemaker and the youngest is spoiled was started by Francis Galton, a nineteenth century British statistician best known for research in eugenics and human intelligence.  He based his conclusions on interviewing his subjects and relied on their interpretations of events and personalities of their siblings.    Freud and Alfred Adler followed in Galton’s footsteps.  In 1921 Lewis Terman studied birth order and IQ and determined that the first born has a higher IQ than the later borns.  These early ‘studies’ relied on interviews with subjects, had no controls, didn’t account for changes in family circumstances over the course of subjects’ lives.

Over the last ten years rigorous empirical research using good controls like school, college, military  and professional records, has showed that birth order yielded no statistically significant differences among children or adults. Four large scale studies since 2015 have solidified the evidence.  So why do we still believe birth order makes a difference?  It does work in some families and it is a handy, familiar explanation.  Dr. Miller ended his presentation by giving us permission to still believe it if we want to!