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As a young boy growing up, I wanted to push life's fast-forward button to instantly become a man. "Men can drive, buy things, and do whatever they want," I thought.

But that was the cool part. It became confusing when I tried to learn about how men are supposed to act.


When I turned on the TV to find out what manhood looked like, it often involved destruction.

In some instances, it was a dude destroying buildings.

GIF from "The Wolverine."

In others, it was a dude destroying other dudes.

Fear the educated feet of Mr. Norris. GIF from "Walker, Texas Ranger."


My dad was (and still is) an amazing role model and taught me that being a man means so much more than drinking beers, bench-pressing 250 pounds, and mean-mugging. Unfortunately, what I saw from my old man didn't jive with what I saw elsewhere.

That's why it's not surprising to find young boys interested in toys that perpetuate the tough guy stereotype, such as guns, swords, action figures, and violent video games.

But how will the aforementioned toys prepare our young boys for manhood?

Every toy doesn't need to be a teaching tool and there's nothing inherently wrong with kids pretending to blow stuff up in their backyards. However, no matter what young males decide to do for a living, there's a high probability that many of them will become fathers.

Why not give them a head start on what it means to be a modern dad by providing them with a doll for the holidays?

Wait, what?

No, really. If you're hesitant about the idea, start by checking out this comic by Chris Hallbeck (who completely nails it).

Image by Chris Hallbeck via Maximumble, used with permission.

Here are three reasons why buying a doll for a boy is a good idea.

1. If little girls can do it all, why can't little boys?

As a dad with two young daughters, I love seeing how the world continues to evolve to include their diverse interests. In past generations, little girls were read the memo to be nurturing, loving, and not too much else. Now they're being taught to become leaders, doctors, coders, scientists, engineers, and anything else they desire.

Just check out the awesome work GoldieBlox is doing to help inspire the young ladies in our lives. The company released a short video capturing the frustration girls feel when searching for toys that suit their interests.

Many young ladies are interested in more than pink and glitter. GIF from GoldieBlox.

Sadly, society is not so quick to follow suit when it comes to boys. Yes, they can be leaders, doctors, and scientists — but playing with dolls? Not so much.

In order to be a well-rounded human, wouldn't it make sense to show little boys that it's just as cool to be wild and competitive as it is to be loving and nurturing? If it's cool for girls, it should be cool for boys too.

2. Learning empathy at an early age is a good thing.

Many parents can remember when their firstborn children became big brothers or big sisters for the first time. The proud older sibling would hover over the baby like a hawk, reacting at every giggle or cry. Rare were the moments when they didn't offer to help with feedings, baths, or anything baby-related.

In other words, the big kids felt deeply connected to the emotions and well-being of the smaller kids in their lives.

Sure sounds similar to playing with a doll to me.

It also sounds a lot like empathy.

Empathy is a way of saying, "I value your feelings." GIF via Brene Brown, The RSA/YouTube.

Studies have shown that empathetic people enjoy greater success emotionally, academically, and interpersonally than those who don't feel empathy.

Girls have countless items at their disposal to display their nurturing side. What happens to the boys who love playing with their younger siblings but aren't allowed to play with dolls?

It cuts off one valuable avenue for our boys to learn about empathy, and that absolutely shouldn't happen.

3. It builds confidence.

A single mom named Heather Manville shared her personal experience with her 8-year-old son, Joey.

Props to Joey and his mom. Photo via Heather Mainville, used with permission.

Since Joey was young, he always had baby dolls, accessories, and anything that would encourage him to engage in play that celebrates empathy and nurturing.

The results are a happy and confident little boy who will surely become a great man someday.

"Joey loves dolls and has the confidence to speak up when he hears that boys shouldn't play with them," Mainville told Upworthy. "He's also a loving and protective playmate with younger children due to learning empathy at a young age."

Is there a better sign of a confident child than one who is willing to do whatever he wants without worrying about what others think of him? In a copycat world where most kids are content to fit in, it's refreshing to see boys like Joey who aren't afraid to show their nurturing sides.

Sure, toughness breeds confidence — but in today's world, sensitivity and empathy comprise what true toughness is all about.

So why not pick up a doll for that little boy in your life this holiday season?

Other than potentially finding a new favorite toy, it will give him the confidence to know that he can be anything he wants to be in the future.

And there's a good chance that "thing he wants to be" will be a good dad.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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