On May 2, 2017, President Trump tweeted that maybe what the government needs is "a good 'shutdown.'"

It would be to "force a partisan confrontation over federal spending," according to The New York Times — as if the American government were a kid who needs a timeout. But that's just not how government works. When politicians can't get their act together, the rest of the country suffers.

How do we know this? Because in 2013, it did shut down. For 16 days. It, uh, wasn't great. If you (and the government) need a reminder of what's at stake, here are 20 things that happened to real people because of it:


1. Furloughed government employees were forced to take part-time jobs.

One U.S. Capitol employee took a job as a middle-school janitor, according to the Washington Post. Another family had to lay off a reading specialist they hired for their autistic son. At its peak, the shutdown put about 850,000 government jobs on hold.

2. National parks closed.

Photo from David McNew/Getty Images.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Cleo Tung and Matthew Locascio had to reschedule their wedding after the government closed Yosemite National Park. Another group was told their reservation to raft down the Grand Canyon — a plan 18 years in the making — wasn't going to happen.

3. National wildlife refuges closed too. Officials had to cancel a wild pony roundup on the Virginia coast.

Each year, workers round up the wild ponies on Assateague Island, conducting vet checks, giving immunizations, and collecting and selling new foals. The event had to be cancelled because the national wildlife refuge was closed. The same park closure also stopped a yearly peregrine falcon survey.

4. Outdoor-dependent businesses near the parks and refuges suffered greatly.

Closing Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska cost fly-fishing guide Fred Telleen thousands of dollars, the Washington Post reported, and closing Zion National Park in Utah cost the Zion Park Inn tens of thousands of dollars, reported The New York Times.

5. If Americans thought they'd hit a museum instead, tough luck. National museums and monuments were closed too.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

The shutdown affected the Smithsonian museums and national monuments such as the Statue of Liberty and the Lincoln Memorial.

6. But it didn't stop 92 veterans from visiting the World War II Memorial.

The Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight veterans dodged barricades to tour the temporarily closed site.

7. And this red-blooded American helped mow the Lincoln Memorial's lawn.

Photo from AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta.

Chris Cox from South Carolina took it upon himself to mow the lawns and empty the garbage cans on the National Mall. He refused donations, saying the point was to send a message to the government.

8. Meanwhile, 50,000 North Carolina families were left without baby formula.

The shutdown locked about 50,000 families in the state out of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, which provides vouchers to low-income moms and families.

9. Homeowners at Lake Mead were told to vacate.

Joyce and Ralph Spencer, whose home is located on government land, were given 24 hours to find new accommodations, according to the Washington Times.

10. $4 billion dollars worth of tax refunds were delayed.

Tax refunds aren't just a nice bonus — they're money that's legitimately owed to workers and families. Checks had to be delayed because of staffing issues at the IRS.

11. Farmers' planting plans were thrown into disarray.

When the government shut down, it stopped providing insurance rate and price predictions to farmers. Combine that with a frozen-at-the-time farm bill, and it's understandable why farmers like Val Wagner said they were having trouble planning the next year's crop.

12. Potentially life-saving clinical trials got all scrambled up.

The shutdown furloughed about three-quarters of the National Institutes of Health's staff, putting a freeze on new clinical trial enrollments. About 200 patients a week had to be deferred, wrote the L.A. Times.

13. Alaskan crab fishermen were idled on the docks, waiting for NOAA permits.

Crab fishermen depend on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to set quotas and issue licenses. The shutdown meant the crews had to sit around waiting.

14. New airplanes were delayed.

Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

JetBlue and US Airways couldn't get new Airbus planes because the Federal Aviation Administration had furloughed the workers who certify them for flight.

15. In Daphne, Alabama, a domestic violence shelter had to ask the city for emergency funding.

A victim of domestic violence at a safe house in 2010. That year, domestic violence shelters in California experienced a similar crisis due to a state budget crisis. Photo by Rich Pedroncelli/AP.

The city came through with funds for the The Lighthouse, but not all shelters were so lucky. The White Buffalo Calf Woman Society, which serves the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, said they had to turn at least four people away.

16. Native American communities lost big.

In Fort Yukon, Alaska, for instance, the political brouhaha shut down jobs, scholarships, and aid programs.

17. Asylum-seekers' cases were delayed or frozen entirely.

A Congolese doctor, applying for U.S. asylum after he spoke out about human rights atrocities, had his case frozen. The already backed-up system became even slower after courts shut down, a situation one lawyer called "a nightmare."

18. An investigation into Dartmouth College's sexual assault policies ground to a halt.

The college was under investigation after students complained the college hadn't been reporting or prosecuting sexual violence on campus. The shutdown paused the investigation.

19. Government workers grew beards.

With nothing else to do, furloughed employees grew beards and posting them on social media, leading to what must be one of our country's lowest moments: the creation of the #ShutdownBeards hashtag.

Ultimately, the 2013 shutdown cost the country about $24 billion.

According to the Standard & Poor's rating agency, the shutdown ended up draining $1.5 billion a day from the American economy.

So no, Mr. President. A government shutdown isn't a good thing.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

These are just a handful of the shutdown's effects. From passport applications to airplane accident investigations, we depend on the government to do its job. When politicians play games, real people get hurt.

Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

True

Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

TikTok about '80s childhood is a total Gen X flashback.

As a Gen X parent, it's weird to try to describe my childhood to my kids. We're the generation that didn't grow up with the internet or cell phones, yet are raising kids who have never known a world without them. That difference alone is enough to make our 1980s childhoods feel like a completely different planet, but there are other differences too that often get overlooked.

How do you explain the transition from the brown and orange aesthetic of the '70s to the dusty rose and forest green carpeting of the '80s if you didn't experience it? When I tell my kids there were smoking sections in restaurants and airplanes and ashtrays everywhere, they look horrified (and rightfully so—what were we thinking?!). The fact that we went places with our friends with no quick way to get ahold of our parents? Unbelievable.

One day I described the process of listening to the radio, waiting for my favorite song to come on so I could record it on my tape recorder, and how mad I would get when the deejay talked through the intro of the song until the lyrics started. My Spotify-spoiled kids didn't even understand half of the words I said.

And '80s hair? With the feathered bangs and the terrible perms and the crunchy hair spray? What, why and how?

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Pets

Ginger the dog reunited with family 5 years after being stolen

Ginger's family never gave up hope, and it payed off.

Ginger the dog was missing for five years before being reunited with her family.

A sweet pup is finally home with her family where she belongs after way too many years away.

Ginger the dog was stolen from her family back in 2017. Her owner, Barney Lattimore of Janesville, Wisconsin, never gave up the hope that his sweet girl was out there somewhere. Whenever he'd see a dog listed on a rescue website or humane society website that even remotely resembled his Ginger, he would inquire about the dog. Unfortunately, it was never her. You'd think that after a while he would stop, but if he had, he likely wouldn't have gotten the sweetest reunion.

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That first car is a rite of passage into adulthood. Specifically, the hard-earned lesson of expectations versus reality. Though some of us are blessed with Teslas at 17, most teenagers receive a car that’s been … let’s say previously loved. And that’s probably a good thing, considering nearly half of first-year drivers end up in wrecks. Might as well get the dings on the lemon, right?

Of course, wrecks aside, buying a used car might end up costing more in the long run after needing repairs, breaking down and just a general slew of unexpected surprises. But hey, at least we can all look back and laugh.

My first car, for example, was a hand-me-down Toyota of some sort from my mother. I don’t recall the specific model, but I definitely remember getting into a fender bender within the first week of having it. She had forgotten to get the brakes fixed … isn’t that a fun story?

Jimmy Fallon recently asked his “Tonight Show” audience on Twitter to share their own worst car experiences. Some of them make my brake fiasco look like cakewalk (or cakedrive, in this case). Either way, these responses might make us all feel a little less alone. Or at the very least, give us a chuckle.

Here are 22 responses with the most horsepower:

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