I like birthdays. In a world where people want to point out what separates us, it’s nice to remember the thing we all have in common—we were all born. When I began teaching, I made it a habit of telling my students about the birth stories of my children. Having been there for the birth of both my kids, I can tell the stories in a lot of detail. Yesterday, in fact, was the birthday of my oldest, my son Erik who turned 34. Erik was born 11 weeks premature at a time when preemies were not all that common, but today he stands 6 foot 4, weighs somewhere near 270 and has four children of his own. It’s fun to find out how we came into the world. Sometimes the way we start sets the tone for the rest of our lives. Some people believe a tranquil birth environment promotes serenity later in life. Some people believe that a baby who has to fight for his or her place in the world will carry that fighting spirit into adulthood. If you feel comfortable with the idea, ask someone who can tell you about your birth. I encourage you to get in touch with your roots and to realize that building on what we have in common, like being born onto planet Earth, will lead to a lot happier place for us all of us to live our lives.