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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

Albert Einstein

One of the strangest things about being human is that people of lesser intelligence tend to overestimate how smart they are and people who are highly intelligent tend to underestimate how smart they are.

This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect and it’s proven every time you log onto Facebook and see someone from high school who thinks they know more about vaccines than a doctor.

The interesting thing is that even though people are poor judges of their own smarts, we’ve evolved to be pretty good at judging the intelligence of others.

“Such findings imply that, in order to be adaptive, first impressions of personality or social characteristics should be accurate,” a study published in the journal Intelligence says. “There is accumulating evidence that this is indeed the case—at least to some extent—for traits such as intelligence extraversion, conscientiousness, openness, and narcissism, and even for characteristics such as sexual orientation, political ideology, or antigay prejudice.”

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Photo by Phuong Tran on Unsplash

This article originally appeared on 08.06.19


Recently, blogger Jen Hatmaker had a funny conversation with a friend about parenting:

"My girlfriend told me the greatest story. Apparently her 11-year-old also wanted to be a grown up this week and, in fact, not only did he treat his siblings like despised underlings, but when asked what he wanted, he said: 'I want the authority to be in charge of them and tell them what to do, because they deserve it!'


Well. My girlfriend and her husband are NOT AT ALL MESSING AROUND with parenting. Calmly, evenly, they granted his request to be a grown-up for a week by pulling him out of camp (the underlings still got to go, because they are 'such children') and sending him to work ALL DAY EVERY DAY with his dad. He has to get up early and shower and make breakfast for everyone. He has to kiss the underlings before he goes to work and tell them to have a great day and that he loves them. He has to work on a typing project during his office hours. He only gets to eat what his dad eats, because eating like a grown-up is not nearly as fun as eating like a kid.


Want to be an adult? Fine."

Photo via iStock.

Hatmaker's post went viral, with thousands of parents chiming in with their own stories of tough love, both giving and receiving.

The responses were hilarious, poignant, and a sign that the next generation is being parented by extremely capable, if not a little bit diabolical, hands.

Here are five of my favorite stories from the comments about parenting-gone-absolutely-right:

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Baby Cora bears a striking resemblance to actor Woody Harrelson.

We can all get a little fascinated by doppelgängers and it's fun to find people who look alike. But what do you do when your baby girl looks uncannily like a famous middle-aged man?

Mom Dani Grier Mulvenna shared a photo of her infant daughter Cora side by side with a photo of Woody Harrelson on Twitter, with the caption "Ok but how does our daughter look like Woody Harrelson." The resemblance truly is remarkable, and the tweet quickly racked up hundreds of thousands of likes, shares and replies.

Naturally, the jokes about Harrelson being the baby's secret father came next, but then Harrelson himself got wind of it.

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