A dad took these touching photos of his 'astronaut' son exploring planet Earth.

Photographer Aaron Sheldon was at the doctor's office with his son when he stumbled onto the perfect metaphor for childhood.

"[Harrison] was scared to sit on the exam table because it's a little high upfor a 3-year-old," Aaron recalled. "So I'm talking with him about being brave, and whattypes of people are brave and have to sit on exam tables. And we'retalking about policemen and firemen and he said, 'Hey, how aboutastronauts? Are they brave?'"

Yep. Sure are.


"So he pretended he was an astronaut, sat on the table, and did agreat job."

It was there that Aaron's adorable photo project, "Small Steps Are Giant Leaps," was born.

When Harrison had to go back for another checkup a few months later, Aaron brought his camera. And a space suit.

Astronaut Harrison sits on an exam table. All photos by Aaron Sheldon, used with permission.

From that exam room, the two traveled to all sorts of new places. Like a far-off land known only as "Target."

Harrison explores the frozen-food aisle of Target.

And to a tiny indoor ocean. Otherwise known as a swimming pool.

Harrison gears up for a swim.

And to a place filled with the most fantastic creatures you've ever seen.

Harrison watches a polar bear at the zoo.

The more places they went, the more Aaron started to realize that this astronaut thing went beyond just bravery. It was about exploration and boldly venturing into unknown territory.

Which, for kids, is almost everywhere.

Even somewhere as simple as a movie theater.

Harrison chows down on popcorn at the movies.

Aaron says the project highlights just how curious his son and kids like him are about the world.

You can tell by the questions Aaron's son asks during and after shoots.

Harrison gets ready for a plane trip.

Looking at the photos "would prompt him to think of aquestion about space or photography," Aaron said. "Like, 'How do astronauts do laundry in space?'; 'Do they eat spaghetti and meatballs in space?' So that was kind of theincubator of new ideas: OK, how can we show that question in a story,in an image?"

He also wants other parents to see the photos and remember that our kids are like little Earth-bound astronauts: endlessly curious and on a mission to better understand, well, everything.

Harrison waits patiently at the laundromat.

"We need to help them be explorers inour everyday world."

When we get irritated or frustrated or exhausted by our kids (and as a fellow parent, believe me, I know we do), Aaron hopes we'll take a moment to remember what the world looks like through their eyes.

Or, in Harrison's case, their visor.

Harrison waits at the barbershop.

One day last year, Aaron and Harrison were riding around their hometown of Columbus, Ohio, on a bus. And it was a blast ... at first.

Aaron said his son was having the time of his life just looking out the window at the passing scenery. But then, "it's time to get off the bus, and he's just not listening to me and I'm starting to get a little ticked off," Aaron said.

"And I realize: 'Hey, this isn't justa bus ride for him. This is a new experience. So chill and give him acouple of minutes to really enjoy it.'"

Though the project is nearly over and Harrison will eventually outgrow his space suit, that powerful lesson will stick with Aaron forever.

President Biden/Twitter, Yamiche Alcindor/Twitter

In a year when the U.S. saw the largest protest movement in history in support of Black lives, when people of color have experienced disproportionate outcomes from the coronavirus pandemic, and when Black voters showed up in droves to flip two Senate seats in Georgia, Joe Biden entered the White House with a mandate to address the issue of racial equity in a meaningful way.

Not that it took any of those things to make racial issues in America real. White supremacy has undergirded laws, policies, and practices throughout our nation's history, and the ongoing impacts of that history are seen and felt widely by various racial and ethnic groups in America in various ways.

Today, President Biden spoke to these issues in straightforward language before signing four executive actions that aim to:

- promote fair housing policies to redress historical racial discrimination in federal housing and lending

- address criminal justice, starting by ending federal contracts with for-profit prisons

- strengthen nation-to-nation relationships with Native American tribes and Alaskan natives

- combat xenophobia against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, which has skyrocketed during the pandemic

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True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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Server Flavaine Carvalho was waiting on her last table of the night at Mrs. Potatohead's, a family restaurant in Orlando, Florida when she noticed something peculiar.

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A closer look revealed a bruise on his temple.

So Carvalho walked away from the table and wrote a note that said, "Do you need help?" and showed it to the boy from an angle where his parents couldn't see.

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Menstrual taboos are as old as time and found across cultures. They've been used to separate women from men physically — menstrual huts are still a thing — and socially, by creating the perception that a natural bodily function is a sign of weakness.

Even in today's world women are deemed unfit for positions of power because some men actually believe they won't be able to handle stressful situations while mensurating.

"Menstruation is an opening for attack: a mark of shame, a sign of weakness, an argument to keep women out of positions of power,' Colin Schultz writes in Popular Science.

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