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10 things kids get in trouble for that adults get away with all the time

Why do we expect children to have more self-control than grown-ups?

three kids at a table, one with hands over eyes, one with hands over ears, one with hands over mouth
Photo by Keren Fedida on Unsplash

Kids know when we're being hypocritical.

Raising kids is tough and no parent does it perfectly. Each child is different, each has their own personalities, strengths and challenges, and each of them requires something different from their parents in order to flourish.

But there's one thing that parents have long said, with their actions if not with their words, that justifiably drives kids bonkers: "Do as I say, not as I do."

To be fair, both moral and actual law dictate that there are things that adults can do that kids can't. Children can't drive or consume alcohol, for example, so it's not hypocritical for adults to do those things while telling kids they cannot. There are other things—movies, TV shows, books, etc.—that parents have to decide whether their kids are ready for or not based on their age and developmental stage, and that's also to be expected.

But there are some gaps between what adults do and what they expect kids to do that aren't so easy to reconcile.


In fact, there's a lot of hypocrisy when it comes to the way adults behave and the way they think kids should behave that warrants some examination. Here are 10 things some people punish kids for that adults do with total impunity:

1. Being hangry

Grown-ups are so familiar with being cranky when they need food that they coined the term "hangry." And yet, if a child melts down because they're hungry, they are expected to pull themselves together and "stop that fussing."

Sure, kids have to learn to regulate their emotional expression, but being punished for needing food and not being able to control their reactions to hunger yet isn't going to teach them that regulation. They have a hard enough time learning that skill when they aren't hungry, so give kids a little grace when the hanger hits. (And always carry snacks.)

2. Not wanting to share something special

The concept of sharing is something most parents try to instill into their kids in order to move them away from self-centeredness. That's not a bad thing, for sure.

But it's worth noting that most adults have certain special belongings that they don't want other people to use, which is totally fine, so expecting kids to always share everything doesn't really make sense. Instead, teach kids that if they have something special that they don't want to share, to keep that item put away when other kids are around. They can also learn to kindly say, "Actually, that toy is extra special to me, but I'm happy to let you play with this one" while offering something else.

3. Breaking dishes, dropping drinks, or other oopsies

How many of us don't break a dish on occasion, simply due to fumbling fingers?

Accidents happen, and it's not always because we're being careless. If a kid is tossing a dish up in the air and trying to catch it behind their back or some other foolish game, that's worth a talking to about carelessness. But if a child breaks something or drops something, our first reaction shouldn't be to get angry and blame or shame them.

Grown-ups don't get in trouble when they drop something. Kids, who have a lot less experience with their hands, definitely shouldn't. Model forgiveness and compassion by helping them clean up the mess, and move on.

4. Not responding immediately

"Did you hear what I said? Are you listening?" we ask our children mere minutes after they had to repeat "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy," to us before we were able to respond to them.

We can't expect our kids to immediately pull their attention away from what they are doing every time we want to say something to them, just as we can't always immediately shift our focus to them if we're putting together a recipe or typing out a thought or in the middle of a calculation.

It's reasonable to teach kids to respectfully say, "One second, please," if we want their attention when they're in the middle of something. That teaches them that their learning/play is worth concentrating on, but also that responding to their parents is important. Give them a little time to disengage, just as adults grant one another all the time if we need to talk.

5. Forgetting things

Adults sometimes forget their lunchbox at home. Adults sometimes leave their jacket someplace by accident. Forgetting things is a normal human phenomenon, not limited to children, and we all give one another grace when we forget something.

With kids, we tend to be less forbearing. If forgetting is a daily occurrence, then sure, it might need to be addressed. But making a kid go hungry because they forgot their lunch even though we could easily bring it to them because "this will teach them to remember it" is kind of silly. Would we do that to our spouse if they forgot their lunch? No. Why do it with a kid (again, unless it's a recurring habit)?

6. Refusing to eat something

We all have likes and dislikes, and one man's feast is another man's napkin food. We would never force an adult who doesn't like sweet potatoes to stay at the table until they finish their sweet potatoes. Why do that to kids?

Encouraging kids to try something they've never tasted is one thing, but making them eat something they've tried and didn't like is just ick. Kids can learn to be grateful for the food they have without being made to eat everything on their plate. Provide lots of options, encourage tasting, but don't force kids to eat anything. That's a quick way to take the enjoyment out of trying new foods and create a negative association with eating certain foods—the exact opposite of what you're wanting.

Most kids will grow out of picky eating, but there will always be certain things people don't care for. It's okay to let that be.

7. Fidgeting

Some people have a really hard time sitting still for long periods of time, adults and children alike. But kids are the ones who get in trouble for not sitting still. Look at how popular standing desks, under-the-desk treadmills and walking meetings have become for working adults—and that's even when they have comfortable, ergonomic office chairs to sit in.

Yet kids are expected to sit in uncomfortable desks most of the day without being able to get up and move around as they need to? No wonder some kids get fidgety.

8. Being in a bad mood

We all have our moments, don't we? Times when we're just feeling salty or irritable and we don't even know why? Maybe it's hormones, maybe it's hanger, maybe it's a full moon—whatever it is, we let people know we're feeling prickly and do what we need to do to either stay away from people or put ourselves right.

What certainly wouldn't help is having someone chide us for having a "bad attitude" and insist that we "shape up." Helping kids manage their mood or alter their environment when they're struggling to manage it is a much more effective life skill than punishing them for being in a bad mood.

9. Complaining

Ever seen a grown-up sit down to do their taxes without a single complaint? No, you haven't, because even if we're getting a refund the process of figuring it out is painful.

Plenty of adults complain when we have to do something we don't want to do, and it's not because we were raised that way, most of the time. It's because some things just suck and it makes us feel better in the moment to express how much they suck.

What kids complain about may seem trivial or silly to us, but it's not to them. Totally find to teach kids that complaining doesn't do any good, but not worth punishing them for it.

10. Sneaking sweets

Umm, hi. Guilty, pretty much daily.

It's technically not sneaking when you own the sweets and you're a grown-up, but it feels like it. And who can blame kids for wanting to raid the cookie jar or the chocolate chip stash? Not saying they should. Just saying I get it, kid.

What else belongs on this list?

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

A map of the United States post land-ice melt.




Land ice: We got a lot of it.

Considering the two largest ice sheets on earth — the one on Antarctica and the one on Greenland — extend more than 6 million square miles combined ... yeah, we're talkin' a lot of ice.

But what if it was all just ... gone? Not like gone gone, but melted?


If all of earth's land ice melted, it would be nothing short of disastrous.

And that's putting it lightly.

This video by Business Insider Science (seen below) depicts exactly what our coastlines would look like if all the land ice melted. And spoiler alert: It isn't great.

Lots of European cities like, Brussels and Venice, would be basically underwater.

In Africa and the Middle East? Dakar, Accra, Jeddah — gone.

Millions of people in Asia, in cities like Mumbai, Beijing, and Tokyo, would be uprooted and have to move inland.

South America would say goodbye to cities like Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.

And in the U.S., we'd watch places like Houston, San Francisco, and New York City — not to mention the entire state of Florida — slowly disappear into the sea.

All GIFs via Business Insider Science/YouTube.

Business Insider based these visuals off National Geographic's estimation that sea levels will rise 216 feet (!) if all of earth's land ice melted into our oceans.

There's even a tool where you can take a detailed look at how your community could be affected by rising seas, for better or worse.

Although ... looking at these maps, it's hard to imagine "for better" is a likely outcome for many of us.

Much of America's most populated regions would be severely affected by rising sea levels, as you'll notice exploring the map, created by Alex Tingle using data provided by NASA.

Take, for instance, the West Coast. (Goodbye, San Fran!)

Or the East Coast. (See ya, Philly!)

And the Gulf Coast. (RIP, Bourbon Street!)

I bring up the topic not just for funsies, of course, but because the maps above are real possibilities.

How? Climate change.

As we continue to burn fossil fuels for energy and emit carbon into our atmosphere, the planet gets warmer and warmer. And that, ladies and gentlemen, means melted ice.

A study published this past September by researchers in the U.S., U.K., and Germany found that if we don't change our ways, there's definitely enough fossil fuel resources available for us to completely melt the Antarctic ice sheet.

Basically, the self-inflicted disaster you see above is certainly within the realm of possibility.

"This would not happen overnight, but the mind-boggling point is that our actions today are changing the face of planet Earth as we know it and will continue to do so for tens of thousands of years to come," said lead author of the study Ricarda Winkelmann, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

If we want to stop this from happening," she says, "we need to keep coal, gas, and oil in the ground."

The good news? Most of our coastlines are still intact! And they can stay that way, too — if we act now.

World leaders are finallystarting to treat climate change like the global crisis that it is — and you can help get the point across to them, too.

Check out Business Insider's video below:

This article originally appeared on 12.08.15

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Woman asks employers for transparent salary ranges

Job hunting isn't something that most people enjoy, especially if they're trying to get out of a toxic work environment. When people are trying to move up the ladder, or simply want to be paid what they're worth. They relay on the salary ranges provided by companies to gauge what salary to request.

Clear salary ranges also allow people to know if the job is worth applying and interviewing for. If the budgeted range is well below what the candidate's current salary, then transparency around the salary gives people a chance to make an informed decision. Jess Goodwin, who, according to her Threads bio is "perpetually looking for work," shared her frustration on the app about companies not including their salary ranges on job listings.

The job seeker explains that she applied for a job without a salary listed against her better judgement because it's a remote position and sounds like fun. Since the application was simple, she applied. The next day she was reminded why she typically skips postings like that.


Goodwin quickly receives the forms for the next step in the process the following day. While looking over the form she sees the expected salary which was a whole $30k less than what she listed as her expected salary for the position.

"I genuinely don't understand the thinking here. Why bother to ask for an applicant's desired salary if you're going to disregard it? Why not include the salary in the job description to begin with if you're going to mention it in the next step in the process? Do you really want to sift through more applications than you need to? Do you think someone's just going to be like 'actually $30K isn't that big of a deal,'" Goodwin writes.

Post by @thejessgoodwin
View on Threads

In the end, the woman emails the company's HR department to decline moving forward in the process. A lot of other people agreed with Goodwin's frustration about the lack of transparency in job postings.

"That’s awful but typical corporate con artist behavior these days. They don’t even try to act with integrity. My favorite is when they post a salary range of $52,578 - $199,000," one person shares.

"If the pay isn’t listed in the job posting it’s because it’s so low no one would apply for the job if it was listed. I’ve got a great job that I love and pays me fairly now. But that’s the rule of thumb I’ve always used when looking for jobs. If the pay isn’t posted don’t waste your time," someone else contributes.

"I agree. Our HR dept never would provide the range on a posting. Some applicants stated their minimum (and yes often it was more that I made). When I narrowed applicants for interview, I would give them the salary range when setting up the interview. It doesn’t waste their or my time if their target salary isn’t in the range," a commenter writes.

The comments were overwhelmingly in favor of employers being more open about the salary range. Some people complained about not finding out the salary until the end of an interview which often ended with the presented salary being much lower than their current salary. Maybe employers will take note of Goodwin's request for transparency and update their policy to include salary transparency.

"Freddie Mercury" by kentarotakizawa is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Fans are thrilled to hear Freddie Mercury's iconic voice once again.

Freddie Mercury had a voice and a stage presence unlike any other in rock music history. His unique talents helped propel the band Queen to the top of music charts and created a loyal fan base around the world.

Sadly, the world lost that voice when Mercury died of AIDS at age 45. For decades, most of us have assumed we'd heard all the music we were going to hear from him.

However, according to Yahoo! Entertainment, remaining Queen members Roger Taylor and Brian May announced this summer that they had found a never-released song they'd recorded with Mercury in 1988 as they were working on the album "The Miracle."



“We did find a little gem from Freddie, that we’d kind of forgotten about,” Taylor said in June, according to the BBC. "It's wonderful, a real discovery. It's a very passionate piece."


That "little gem" is a four-minute ballad called "Face It Alone." Queen released a lyric video of the song on its YouTube channel, and it's bringing fans to tears.

The lyrics are particularly heart-wrenching, considering the timing of the song's recording. Mercury was reportedly diagnosed with HIV in 1987, though kept it a secret from the public and even from many who worked closely with him until shortly before his death.

Comments have poured in from around the world in multiple languages, and the sentiment is universal—people are deeply moved.

"Over 3 million views in one day. To hear Freddie's voice again is so special. You live forever, darling. The song is heart breaking but then again, Queen's songs are from the heart and that can never go wrong. Thank you to all who made it happen." – sweet pea

"One day Freddie said: 'I won't be a star,I will be a Legend'And yes we all agree, he STILL REMAINS A LEGEND even after 31 years after his death. AMAZING." – Gloria Sousa

"Freddie’s vocal is killing me same today as 20 years ago. Thank You Queen for this amazing gift after so many years. We love You." – Adrian Kufel

"What to say?? A great magnificent surprise. All I know is that I cried the moment I heard this voice, these words.... Only Freddie. Love this man for eternity.. It seems as if he returned briefly to us!! To send us a message... What a beautiful present for all his fans, for this generation that has had the impact of the pandemic, this strange war, these strange times. So happy and touched to hear this now. Thank you Queen... Thank you Freddie forever !!!" – Fern 19671

"So great to see all the Freddie and Queen fans here today celebrating this song and Freddie's amazing voice. I love how much Freddie is still treasured. I remember the day he passed away, how I cried. It's like a gift to get this new song and have his song playing loud throughout the house today. We all love you dear Freddie." - Sarah-Louise ASMR

Mercury was truly a legend in his own time, and hearing his voice anew almost makes it feel like he's time-traveled to the here and now. What a lovely gift for Queen fans everywhere.


This article originally appeared on 10.14.22

Photo credit: Canva, @samkelly_world/Threads

The "Notice and Do" list is a great chore list alternative that teaches kids to be aware of what needs to be done.



Though motherhood has long involved the intangible, yet nonetheless taxing responsibilities of managing a household, we’ve only had the term “invisible labor” to actually define this experience for thirty some odd years.

And if the conversation of invisible labor is still fairly new in the world of adults, how can they teach kids to be cognizant of it?

Sam Kelly, therapist and mom of three, has a pretty cool solution to this, and it starts by tweaking the traditional chore list.


On her Threads account, Kelly explained that she has ongoing conversations about invisible labor with her 6, 10, and 12-year-old, where she teaches them that “that the very first step in anything getting done around the house (including chores) is NOTICING that something needs to get done and then doing it.”

It’s through these conversations that Kelly realized the chores charts that most parents use miss this “crucial step,” which only “defaults that emotional labor onto me, their mom/the woman, to carry the load of knowing what needs to get done and then doing the work of assigning tasks.”

So, instead of chores, Kelly’s family participates in an activity she calls their “Notice and Do’s.”

“I’m teaching my kids how to first notice what needs to be done around the house and then take the initiative to actually do it on their own,” she writes, with the end goal being for them to eventually participate in “shouldering the mental load (in age-appropriate ways)” without needing instructions from mom.

Post by @samkelly_world
View on Threads

Long term, Kelly hopes that her kids will not only be more aware of invisible labor that happens every day, but also “have developed the proactive, self-motivational skills to take responsibility for doing it themselves.”

In creating her “Notice and Do” lists, Kelly has also made sure to address—and dispel— inherent gender norms, in both teaching her daughter that it is not solely a woman’s job, and teaching her son to take an equal amount of responsibility.

“This might seem like a crazy fantasy pipe dream. I get it,” she writes. “But slowly, over time…it’s working.”

All in all, other adults seemed to love this approach.

“Those are all great executive functioning skills of planning, organization, perception, attention, working memory and initiation at work. Well done!👏🏾👏🏾,” one person wrote.

“I love this. It really TEACHES instead of just bossing them around. Goes a long way,” another added.”

chores for kids

“I love this. It really TEACHES instead of just bossing them around."

Photo credit: Canva

Kelly’s “Notice and Do” list obviously isn’t a fix-all, but the fact that it’s creating awareness around labor which so often goes unnoticed is such a game changer. Think about how different our society might be if this mindset skill was as commonly taught as the alphabet or time tables.

Thankfully, Kelly did make it easy to teach kids with a free guide, which you can check out here.

Popular

Paul Alexander spent over 70 years in an iron lung. What he was able to accomplish is amazing.

Paralyzed after a polio infection as a child, Paul Alexander was still able to visit the beach, fly on an airplane, and graduate from law school.

Wikipedia/GoFundMe

Paul Alexander lived an amazing life overcoming incredible adversity

It’s a sight we don’t normally see these days: A man lying prone in a big, metal tube with his head sticking out of one end. But it wasn’t so long ago that this sight was unfortunately much more common.

In the first half of the 20th century, tens of thousands of people each year were infected by polio—a highly contagious virus that attacks nerves in the spinal cord and brainstem. Many people survived polio, but a small percentage of people who did were left permanently paralyzed from the virus, requiring support to help them breathe. This support, known as an “iron lung,” manually pulled oxygen in and out of a person’s lungs by changing the pressure inside the machine.


Paul Alexander was one of several thousand who were infected and paralyzed by polio in 1952. That year, a polio epidemic swept the United States, forcing businesses to close and polio wards in hospitals all over the country to fill up with sick children. When Paul caught polio in the summer of 1952, doctors urged his parents to let him rest and recover at home, since the hospital in his home suburb of Dallas, Texas was already overrun with polio patients.

Paul rested in bed for a few days with aching limbs and a fever. But his condition quickly got worse. Within a week, Paul could no longer speak or swallow, and his parents rushed him to the local hospital where the doctors performed an emergency procedure to help him breathe. Paul woke from the surgery three days later, and found himself unable to move and lying inside an iron lung in the polio ward, surrounded by rows of other paralyzed children.


@ironlungman Episode 1 of Convos with Paul! We will be responding to comments and questions about Paul’s life, his polio, and life in an iron lung! Please be positive 😊 #PaulAlexander #poliopaul #ironlung #conversationswithpaul ♬ Chopin Nocturne No. 2 Piano Mono - moshimo sound design


Paul struggled inside the polio ward for the next 18 months, bored and restless and needing to hold his breath when the nurses opened the iron lung to help him bathe. The doctors on the ward frequently told his parents that Paul was going to die.

But against all odds, Paul lived. And with help from a physical therapist, Paul was able to thrive—sometimes for small periods outside the iron lung.

The way Paul did this was to practice glossopharyngeal breathing (or as Paul called it, “frog breathing”), where he would trap air in his mouth and force it down his throat and into his lungs by flattening his tongue. This breathing technique, taught to him by his physical therapist, would allow Paul to leave the iron lung for increasing periods of time.

With help from his iron lung (and for small periods of time without it), Paul managed to live a full, happy, and sometimes record-breaking life. At 21, Paul became the first person in Dallas, Texas to graduate high school without attending class in person, owing his success to memorization rather than taking notes. After high school, Paul received a scholarship to Southern Methodist University and pursued his dream of becoming a trial lawyer and successfully represented clients in court.

Images of a younger and older Paul Alexander in his iron lungPaul Alexander lived an amazing life overcoming incredible adversityWikipedia/GoFundMe

Paul practiced law in North Texas for more than 30 years, using a modified wheelchair that held his body upright. During his career, Paul even represented members of the biker gang Hells Angels—and became so close with them he was named an honorary member.

Throughout his long life, Paul was also able to fly on a plane, visit the beach, adopt a dog, fall in love, and write a memoir using a plastic stick to tap out a draft on a keyboard. In recent years, Paul joined TikTok and became a viral sensation with more than 330,000 followers. In one of his first videos, Paul advocated for vaccination and warned against another polio epidemic.

Paul was reportedly hospitalized with COVID-19 at the end of February and died on March 11th, 2024. He currently holds the Guiness World Record for longest survival inside an iron lung—71 years.

Polio thankfully no longer circulates in the United States, or in most of the world, thanks to vaccines. But Paul continues to serve as a reminder of the importance of vaccination—and the power of the human spirit.

““I’ve got some big dreams. I’m not going to accept from anybody their limitations,” he said in a 2022 interview with CNN. “My life is incredible.”