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Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

Enjoy this week's collection of smile-worthy delights.

happy joy smile
Alexas_Fotos/Canva

Upworthy's weekly roundup of joy.

Have you ever pondered the simple power of a smile?

Research shows that smiling is contagious. We tend to mimic the facial expressions of those around us, so if someone around you is smiling, you'll probably feel a natural urge to smile as well. And even if you were feeling grumpy at the time, that act of smiling can actually positively influence your own emotions and make you feel happier.

In other words, "Smile and the world smiles with you" actually has some truth to it. And the more reasons we can find to smile, the better everyone around us will feel.


That's one reason why we pull together these roundups of smile-worthy delights each week. Not only are they uplifting and entertaining, but they have the potential, however small, to make the world a better, brighter, happier place for everyone around us.

Here are 10 things that made us smile this week. Hope they make you and those around you smile, too.

1. Adorable baby has the world's cutest reaction to her mom finally understanding her.

That final breathless "Ses!" Seriously, give that baby alllll the strawberries, plus anything else she wants, forever and ever, amen.

2. This strangely moving time-lapse of a Eurasian blue tit mama raising her family

Did not expect to get emotional at watching birds fly the nest in two minutes flat, yet here we are. The way the mama got her nest all cozy for her surprisingly large family. And those tiny little yellow mouths! Man, they grow fast, and then one day [gulp] they leave. Phew, all the feels.

3. Desperate mom asking to borrow an orange cat for her Garfield-loving kiddos is so pure.

Ah, the things we do for our offspring. I'd pay money to see this lasagna dinner actually happen. "Cat will not be required to eat lasagna if contraindicated" is my favorite part. Definitely need a follow-up on this one.

4. Dog freezes in the middle of a bunch of fake Halloween cats and it's hilariously impressive.

At first, it's hard to tell if this dog is even real. How can he hold so perfectly still for so long, right down to his tail? Good boy Maverick here appears to be a lab pointer mix, and pointers do this as part of their hunting behavior. He doesn't even twitch until his owner comes close and reassures him. Totally hilarious among a bunch of fake cats.

5. Monkey meticulously picking every string off a banana is soooo relatable.

Banana strings are disgusting, but I'd never have guessed that monkeys would be finicky about them. The way it picks the string off the baby's head and then tosses another string off the tree stump, like, "Ew, get away, gross banana string!" is so relatable. I'm feeling that common ancestor here, monkey.

6. Dog's Halloween costume looks like two people struggling to carry a pumpkin.

How do humans come up with such clever things? This is just nonstop entertainment. (Check out more hilarious dog costume ideas here.)

7. Wee one doing his sister's cheer routine alongside her is all kinds of awwww.

That kick at the end! He's got the moves, and how sweet that they gave him poms so he could participate.

Speaking of little brothers…

8. The way this baby looks at big sis would be enough, but then the little head snuggle.

Why is everyone trying to make me want a baby?!? Why???

OK, one more brother and sister thing…

9. You know you're a mom when finding the 115th "butt" in your house is a sweet, touching moment.

First of all, hilarious. Second of all, how sweet is it that a brother would go to such lengths just to make his sister laugh? These are the kinds of things families remember forever. So silly, but so memorable.

10. Let's fly into the weekend with the verve and humor of this flight attendant who makes it impossible to ignore the flight safety presentation.

Someone was a drama kid. Gotta love it. But in all seriousness, he probably made all of those passengers safer with his comedy routine. Read the full story of why here.

That's it, folks! Hope you enjoyed this week's list and come back next week for another roundup of joy. (And if you'd like to get these posts in your inbox each week, subscribe to our free email newsletter, The Upworthiest, here.)

Photo by Eliott Reyna on Unsplash

Gen Z is navigating a career landscape unlike any other.

True

Every adult generation has its version of a “kids these days” lament, labeling the up-and-coming generation as less resilient or hardworking compared to their own youth. But Gen Z—currently middle school age through young adulthood—is challenging that notion with their career readiness.

Take Abigail Sanders, an 18-year-old college graduate. Thanks to a dual enrollment program with her online school, she actually earned her bachelor’s degree before her high school diploma. Now she’s in medical school at Bastyr University in Washington state, on track to become a doctor by age 22.

a family of 6 at a graduation with two graduatesAll four of the Sanders kids have utilized Connections Academy to prepare for their futures.

Abigail’s twin sister, Chloe, also did dual enrollment in high school to earn her associate’s in business and is on an early college graduation path to become a vet tech.

Maeson Frymire dreams of becoming a paramedic. He got his EMT certification in high school and fought fires in New Mexico after graduation. Now he’s working towards becoming an advanced certified EMT and has carved his career path towards flight paramedicine.

Sidny Szybnski spends her summers helping run her family’s log cabin resort on Priest Lake in Idaho. She's taken business and finance courses in high school and hopes to be the third generation to run the resort after attending college.

log cabin resort on edge of forestAfter college, Sidny Szybnski hopes to run her family's resort in Priest Lake, Idaho.

Each of these learners has attended Connections Academy, tuition-free online public schools available in 29 states across the U.S., to not only get ready for college but to dive straight into college coursework and get a head start on career training as well. These students are prime examples of how Gen Zers are navigating the career prep landscape, finding their passions, figuring out their paths and making sure they’re prepared for an ever-changing job market.

Lorna Bryant, the Head of Career Education for Connections Academy’s online school program, says that Gen Z has access to a vast array of career-prep tools that previous generations didn’t have, largely thanks to the internet.

“Twenty to 30 years ago, young people largely relied on what adults told them about careers and how to get there,” Bryant tells Upworthy. “Today, teens have a lot more agency. With technology and social media, they have access to so much information about jobs, employers and training. With a tap on their phones, they can hear directly from people who are in the jobs they may be interested in. Corporate websites and social media accounts outline an organization’s mission, vision and values—which are especially important for Gen Z.”

Research shows over 75% of high schoolers want to focus on skills that will prepare them for in-demand jobs. However, not all teens know what the options are or where to find them. Having your future wide open can be overwhelming, and young people might be afraid of making a wrong choice that will impact their whole lives.

Bryant emphasizes that optimism and enthusiasm from parents can help a lot, in addition to communicating that nothing's carved in stone—kids can change paths if they find themselves on one that isn’t a good fit.

Dr. Bryant and student video meeting Dr. Bryant meeting with a student

“I think the most important thing to communicate to teens is that they have more options than ever to pursue a career,” she says. “A two- or four-year college continues to be an incredibly valuable and popular route, but the pathways to a rewarding career have changed so much in the past decade. Today, career planning conversations include options like taking college credit while still in high school or earning a career credential or certificate before high school graduation. There are other options like the ‘ships’—internships, mentorships, apprenticeships—that can connect teens to college, careers, and employers who may offer on-the-job training or even pay for employees to go to college.”

Parents can also help kids develop “durable skills”—sometimes called “soft” or “human” skills—such as communication, leadership, collaboration, empathy and grit. Bryant says durable skills are incredibly valuable because they are attractive to employers and colleges and transfer across industries and jobs. A worldwide Pearson survey found that those skills are some of the most sought after by employers.

“The good news is that teens are likely to be already developing these skills,” says Bryant. Volunteering, having a part-time job, joining or captaining a team sport can build durable skills in a way that can also be highlighted on college and job applications.

Young people are navigating a fast-changing world, and the qualities, skills and tools they need to succeed may not always be familiar to their parents and grandparents. But Gen Z is showing that when they have a good grasp of the options and opportunities, they’re ready to embark on their career paths, wherever they may lead.

Learn more about Connections Academy here and Connections’ new college and career prep initiative here.

Joy

Sorry, Labradors. After 31 years, America has a new favorite dog.

The American Kennel Club has crowned a new favorite.

via Pixabay

A sad-looking Labrador Retriever

The sweet-faced, loveable Labrador Retriever is no longer America’s favorite dog breed. The breed best known for having a heart of gold has been replaced by the smaller, more urban-friendly French Bulldog.

According to the American Kennel Club, for the past 31 years, the Labrador Retriever was America’s favorite dog, but it was eclipsed in 2022 by the Frenchie. The rankings are based on nearly 716,500 dogs newly registered in 2022, of which about 1 in 7 were Frenchies. Around 108,000 French Bulldogs were recorded in the U.S. in 2022, surpassing Labrador Retrievers by over 21,000.

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Jack Black does impression of The Rock.

I don't know what it is about impersonations that are so fascinating to people but they're often hilarious, and Jack Black impersonating The Rock does not disappoint. From the 2018 clip you can't tell what prompted the impersonation but "Screen Junkies" interviewer looks to Black and asks him about his workout routine as if he's Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

The comedian adjusts himself in his seat and doesn't break character the entire time and somehow the interviewer is able to maintain a serious face throughout the process. Kevin Hart and the actual Dwayne Johnson cannot keep it together while Black does his impression of his co-star.

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On May 28, 2014, 13-year-old Athena Orchard of Leicester, England, died of bone cancer. The disease began as a tumor in her head and eventually spread to her spine and left shoulder. After her passing, Athena's parents and six siblings were completely devastated. In the days following her death, her father, Dean, had the difficult task of going through her belongings. But the spirits of the entire Orchard family got a huge boost when he uncovered a secret message written by Athena on the backside of a full-length mirror.

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A Korean mother and her son

A recently posted story on Reddit shows a mother confidently standing up for her family after being bullied by a teacher for her culture. Reddit user Flowergardens0 posted the story to the AITA forum, where people ask whether they are wrong in a specific situation.

Over 5,600 people commented on the story, and an overwhelming majority thought the mother was right. Here’s what went down:

“I (34F) have a (5M) son who attends preschool. A few hours after I picked him up from school today, I got a phone call from his teacher,” Flowergardens0 wrote. “She made absolutely no effort to sound kind when she, in an extremely rude and annoyed tone, told me to stop packing my son such ‘disgusting and inappropriate’ lunches."

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Science

When these drones zoom in over elephants and rhinos, they stop horrible things from happening.

A shepherd watches over sheep. Watching over elephants and rhinos? Not so easy.

via The Lindbergh Foundation

Drone footage from the Aerial Shepherd.


This is a story about something really exciting.

Before I get into it, let me set the stage by explaining the terrible problem it's solving.

10 years.

That's how long it'll be until the last wild elephants and rhinoceroses are gone.

100 of them are killed every day by poachers.

Even though elephants and rhinos are legally protected, the amount of money that can be made from the ivory in their tusks is just too much for some people to resist.

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Identity

Homosexuality in the Bible: Here's what six passages say and how to interpret them.

The video does a really great job of contextualizing each reference.

Image from YouTube video.

Looking into the text of the Bible.


Matthew Vines' "God and the Gay Christian” video at the bottom of this article analyses six passages related to homosexuality in the Bible. It does a really great job of contextualizing each reference (because we all know that Scriptures out of context can cause misinterpretation at best and d-r-a-m-a at worst).

We've also broken down each reference to homosexuality in the Bible here:

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