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Cool scientists refuse to stand by and let a girl be bullied for her love of bugs.

Former and current bug girls, you've got an awesome newbie joining your ranks.

Nicole Spencer can't remember a time when her 7-year-old daughter Sophia wasn't in love with bugs

Sophia thrilled over her caterpillars. Image courtesy of Nicole Spencer.

Ever since she could crawl, Sophia's mission in life has been to find bugs and learn everything there is to know about them, Nicole says. She is fascinated by how bugs move and eat, and she loves that they seem to scare most people.


"All she talks about is bugs," Nicole says. "She wants a spider comforter."

Sophia with her bug catchers. Image courtesy of Nicole Spencer.

Thankfully, growing up in in Sarnia, Ontario, Sophia had a like-minded best friend who loved searching for bugs with her.

Together, the girls called themselves "The Bug Hunters," and they'd use their dollar-store bug nets to catch different bugs and bring them home for Nicole to look up online.

Sophia caught herself with her bug net. Image courtesy of Nicole Spencer.

But when they moved 10 hours away, Sophia found herself without a bug-loving BFF, going to school with kids who instead teased her mercilessly for her obsession.

Sophia as a ladybug. Image courtesy of Nicole Spencer.

She was called "weird" and other less kind names, Nicole says. None of the other kids at school wanted to play with her, and Nicole watched as her once-bubbly, curious little girl would come home in tears, begging her mom not to send her back.

Nicole tried talking to Sophia's teachers, but to no avail. According to Nicole, the teachers told her that teasing is a part of going to school, and that Sophia needed to learn to stick up for herself.

Those conversations left Nicole feeling frustrated and disillusioned with the school system, but she wasn't about to leave it at that.

Afraid this bullying would deter her daughter from pursuing the thing she loves most, Nicole decided to call in some backup — namely, the Entomology Society of Canada.

Nicole reached out to the powers that be there to see if they could connect her with an entomologist who could tell Sophia she's "totally cool for liking bugs."

The response she received was beyond encouraging — it was overwhelming.

Within a day, messages began pouring in from entomologists, scientists and other bug enthusiasts from all over the world.

Turns out, "weird" bug girls grow up into awesome women — all of whom wanted to reassure Sophia that she was in good company.

Moms of other little bug girls responded too, asking if Sophia would want a pen pal to discuss bugs with.

According to Nicole, Sophia didn't even know women could be entomologists. Now she has over 80 messages of support and encouragement from entomologists all over the world, 54 of whom are women. Sophia plans to hang the letters all over her room so she never forgets she has an army of bug-loving friends standing behind her.

When Sophia goes to school now, she knows that no matter what she hears from other kids, it's totally cool to love bugs.

Sophia with her grasshoppers. Image courtesy of Nicole Spencer.

"I can’t even describe how it makes you feel as a parent to know that all these people are encouraging your kid. I think it helps her see that everything I’ve been telling her is true. There are other bug lovers out there," says Nicole.

And pretty soon, Sophia will be making her mark on the bug world alongside them. #BugsR4Girls

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

Laverne Cox in 2016.

When kids are growing up they love to see themselves in the dolls and action figures. It adds a special little spark to a shopping trip when you hear your child say “it looks just like me.” The beaming smile and joy that exudes from their little faces in that moment is something parents cherish, and Mattel is one manufacturer that has been at the forefront of making that happen. It has created Barbies with freckles, afro puffs, wheelchairs, cochlear implants and more. The company has taken another step toward representation with its first transgender doll.

Laverne Cox, openly transgender Emmy award winning actor and LGBTQ activist, is celebrating her 50th birthday May 29, and Mattel is honoring her with her very own Barbie doll. The doll designed to represent Cox is donned in a red ball gown with a silver bodysuit. It also has accessories like high heels and jewelry to complete the look. Cox told Today, “It’s been a dream for years to work with Barbie to create my own doll.” She continued, “I can’t wait for fans to find my doll on shelves and have the opportunity to add a Barbie doll modeled after a transgender person to their collection.”

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Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.