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A 3-year-old gave her mom a 25-word master class on what forgiveness really means.

Mom and blogger Mary Katherine Backstrom regularly shares snippets of life with her two children on her Facebook page. One particularly touching interaction with her daughter is melting hearts and blowing minds due to the three-year-old's wise words about forgiveness.

Even adults struggle with the concept of forgiveness. Entire books have been written about how and why to forgive those who have wronged us, but many still have a hard time getting it. Who would guess that a preschooler could encapsulate what forgiveness means in a handful of innocent words?


Backstrom told the story in a now viral Facebook post:

"My daughter and I just had a knock-down, drag-out bedtime hour. Finally, about ten minutes ago, I put her to bed and through clinched teeth said 'I love you, Holland, but not another word tonight. You are going to sleep now. I'm done fussing over stuffed animals.'

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'Mommy?'

I paused on the way out the door, literally biting my tongue I was so frustrated.

'What is it, Holland?'

'I DO have one more thing to say.'

Of course she did. She was standing on the bed with her hands on her hips, too. Her hair was wild and she was using her arm to wipe her tears and snot away from her face.

'Mommy,' my three year old said, staring me down with venom in her tiny voice...

'I FORGIVE YOU!!!'

Then she laid down and cried and honest to goodness, for a hot minute, I didn't know what to do.

The way she said 'I forgive you,' made it sound like cuss words.

I walked over to the bedside and leaned over.

'Baby girl, do you know what forgiveness means?'

She was still sniffling, her face shoved deep into her Little Mermaid pillow.

'Yes,' she muttered.

I really had to hear this.

'It means you were wrong, and I'm tired of being mad, and now I'm going to sleep and my heart won't have a tummy ache.'

So there you have it, folks.

Tonight I was taught a lesson in forgiveness by a three year old. It was a gut punch, too. And you're dang right I climbed in that bed and loved on her.

Because to be honest, MY heart had a bit of a tummy ache.

I was reminded by my toddler to never go to bed in anger. Because when you do, your heart will have a tummy ache.

And you know what? I've been alive for 35 years, and I've got to give it to her:

She's not wrong."

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According to experts, the preschooler really isn't wrong.

According to UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center:

"Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.

Just as important as defining what forgiveness is, though, is understanding what forgiveness is not. Experts who study or teach forgiveness make clear that when you forgive, you do not gloss over or deny the seriousness of an offense against you. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing offenses. Though forgiveness can help repair a damaged relationship, it doesn't obligate you to reconcile with the person who harmed you, or release them from legal accountability.

Instead, forgiveness brings the forgiver peace of mind and frees him or her from corrosive anger. While there is some debate over whether true forgiveness requires positive feelings toward the offender, experts agree that it at least involves letting go of deeply held negative feelings. In that way, it empowers you to recognize the pain you suffered without letting that pain define you, enabling you to heal and move on with your life."

Basically, Holland said the same thing, just in 25 kid-friendly words.

The post has been shared more than 92,000 times, and Backstrom told Upworthy she was pleasantly surprised when it went viral.

"It makes me happy when heartwarming stories go viral," she said, "because I think it's a shared slice of humanity that everyone is finding in common. And in this case, the innocence and profound wisdom that at times comes from the mouths of children."

"I think children are able to speak profound truths," she added, "because they address complex emotions in simple ways. As adults we complicate our approach to conflict. We could learn a lot from toddlers who express their frustration, hug it out, forgive, and move on. It would certainly save us a few 'heart tummy aches.'"

Indeed it would. Thank you, Holland, for the sweet reminder.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via YouTube

This article originally appeared on 02.15.22


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