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Dad writes heartbreaking message after the death of his son

"Hug your kids. Don’t work too late. "

Dad writes heartbreaking message after the death of his son
via LinkedIn

A dad from Portland, Oregon, has taken to LinkedIn to write an emotional plea to parents after he learned that his son had died during a conference call at work. J.R. Storment, of Portland, Oregon, encouraged parents to spend less time at work and more time with their kids after his son's death.


In an open letter on LinkedIn, which has so far garnered over 26,000 likes and 2,700 comments, Storment explains that his son, Wiley, passed away during his sleep as a result of complications from his mild epilepsy. He then goes on to blast himself for not spending enough time with his son, and encourages other parents to take more time off work.

Widowed father with his family

J.R. Storment and his family

via Facebook

Storment starts by explaining that the day his son passed away started like any other:

"Eight years ago, during the same month, I had twin boys and co-founded Cloudability. About three months ago Cloudability was acquired. About three weeks ago we lost one of our boys."

"When I got the call I was sitting in a conference room with 12 people at our Portland office talking about PTO policies. Minutes earlier, I had admitted to the group that in the last 8 years I'd not taken more than a contiguous week off."

That's when Storment received a call from his distraught wife.

"My wife and I have an agreement that when one of us calls, the other answers. So when the phone rang I stood up and walked to the conference room door immediately."

"I was still walking through the door when I answered with 'Hey, what's up?'"

"Her reply was icy and immediate: 'J.R., Wiley is dead.'"

"'What?' I responded incredulously."

"'Wiley has died.' she reiterated."

"'What?! No.' I yelled out, 'No!'"

"'I'm so sorry, I have to call 911.'"

Storment goes on to explain the chaos that happened next.

"That was the entire conversation. The next thing I know I'm sprinting out the front door of the office with my car keys in hand, running ferociously across the street and muttering 'oh F**k. oh F**k. oh F**k.' Half way down the block I realize I don't have the opener to my parking garage. Running back into the lobby, I all but shout "Someone drive me! Somebody drive me!" Thankfully, a helpful colleague did."

Storment made it home, but not yet knowing the cause of death, police were treating the house as a possible crime scene. The heartbroken father was unable to see his son for two and a half hours.

"When the medical examiner finally finished his work, we were allowed in the room. An eerie calm came over me. I laid down next to him in the bed that he loved, held his hand and kept repeating, 'What happened, buddy? What happened?'"

"We stayed next to him for maybe 30 minutes and stroked his hair before they returned with a gurney to take him away. I walked him out, holding his hand and his forehead through the body bag as he was wheeled down our driveway. Then all the cars drove away. The last one to leave was the black minivan with Wiley in it."

Storment goes on to explain his son's dreams and aspirations, and the difficulty he had signing his son's death certificate.

"Wiley was obsessed with starting a business. One day it was a smoothie stand, the next it would be a gallery, then a VR headset company, then a 'coder', then a spaceship building company. In each of these scenarios he was the boss. His brother (and sometimes us) were invited to work for—not with— him and were each assigned jobs. In the gallery scenario, Wiley informed Oliver that he would be manning the cash register."

"Around 5 years old, Wiley decided he was going to get married as an adult. By 6 he had identified the girl, holding her hand at recess on the first day of kindergarten. Over the next two years as we moved from Portland to London to Hawaii, he kept in touch with her by handwritten letter. Not long before we moved back to Portland, the two agreed (by letter) to marry. She beat him to the punch and asked him. He accepted. Happily, he got to see her twice after we moved back to Portland in June."

"One of the countless difficult moments of this month was signing his death certificate. Seeing his name written on the top of it was hard. However, two fields further down the form crushed me. The first said: 'Occupation: Never worked' and the next: 'Marital Status: Never married.' He wanted so badly to do both of those things. I feel both fortunate and guilty to have had success in each."

Storment then criticises himself for spending too much time at work. And while it sounds that Wiley got to live an amazing life, Storment only wishes he could have done more with him.

"Over the last three weeks I have come up with an endless stream of things I regret. They tend to fall into two categories: things I wish I had done differently and things I'm sad not to see him do. My wife is constantly reminding me of all the things he did do: Wiley went to 10 countries, drove a car on a farm road in Hawaii, hiked in Greece, snorkeled in Fiji, wore a suit to a fantastic British prep school every day for two years, got rescued from a shark on a jet ski, kissed multiple girls, got good enough at chess to beat me twice in a row, wrote short stories and drew comics obsessively."

Storment hadn't checked on the boys the morning of the tragedy because he had to get up early for meetings, a decision he seems to regret.

"Around 5:40am, the next morning I woke up for a series of back to back meetings. I did a Peloton ride, took an analyst call from my home office, one with a colleague on the drive to work, then the rest at the office. None seem that important now. I left that morning without saying goodbye or checking on the boys."

Via Facebook

Storment has a simple message for parents:

"Many have asked what they can do to help. Hug your kids. Don't work too late. A lot of the things you are likely spending your time on you'll regret once you no longer have the time. I'm guessing you have 1:1 meetings on the books with a lot of people you work with. Do you have them regularly scheduled with your kids? If there's any lesson to take away from this, it's to remind others (and myself) not to miss out on the things that matter."

"The big question is how to return to work in a way that won't leave me again with the regrets I have now. To be honest, I've considered not going back. But I believe in the words of Kahlil Gibran who said, 'Work is love made visible.' To me, that line is a testament to how much we gain, grow and offer through the work we do. But that work needs to have a balance that I have rarely lived. It's a balance that lets us offer our gifts to the world but not at the cost of self and family."

"While I sat writing this post, my living son, Oliver, came in to ask for screen time. Instead of saying the usual 'no', I stopped writing and asked if I could play with him. He was happily surprised by my answer and we connected in a way I would have formerly missed out on. Small things matter. One silver lining from this tragedy is the improving relationship I have with him."

"Our family has gone from having two units of two (the parents and the twins) to now being a triangle of three. That's a big adjustment for a family that has always been four. Oliver's brilliant reply when we discussed the shape of our new family: 'But Papa, the triangle is the strongest shape.' By some sad and beautiful irony, Oliver has met three sets of 8-year-old twins in our new neighborhood since Wiley passed."

"I've learned to stop waiting to do the things the kids ask for. When we sold the business I gave each of the boys a $100 dollar bill. They decided to pool their money to buy a tent for camping. But we didn't make it happen before Wiley died. Another regret. So, after the first round of family visits after his death, I took Jessica and Oliver to REI to get gear and we left town quickly to camp near Mt. St. Helens."

"Somehow, we got to the wilderness without enough cash to cover the campground fee and had a slight panic. Jessica then realized that Wiley's $100 bill was still in his seat pocket. He got to spend his money on camping after all. Collectively, the family said a big, 'Thanks, buddy' out-loud to him. It was one of many bittersweet moments we will experience for the rest of our lives. Each happy time brings with it the sadness that he doesn't get to experience it."

"One of Wiley's happy times was listening to music and dancing. Damn, could that kid dance. He loved the Oregon Country Fair and the year before we left for London, we listened to a band there play a version of 'Enjoy yourself (It's later than you think)'. The words stuck with me that day three years ago and painfully so now:"


"You work and work for years and years, you're always on the go

You never take a minute off, too busy makin' dough

Someday, you say, you'll have your fun, when you're a millionaire

Imagine all the fun you'll have in your old rockin' chair

Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think

Enjoy yourself, while you're still in the pink

The years go by, as quickly as a wink

Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it's later than you think"


This article originally appeared on 07.10.21

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

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via TheEllenShow / YouTube

Mark Wahlberg on "The Ellen Show."

Actor Mark Wahlberg recently attended a daddy-daughter dance with his 10-year-old, Grace. Sadly, Grace had no interest in seeing her father strutting his stuff on the dance floor.

"I didn't get one dance," Wahlberg told Ellen DeGeneres. "And I told her we were going to do the whole big circle and I was going to go off. And she said, 'Dad, if you embarrass me, I will never talk to you again.' But what she did do is she hung out with me."

No matter who your dad is, especially if you're a 10-year-old-girl, you have zero desire to see him dance in front of your friends.

But the parents at the dance probably would have had a blast seeing Wahlberg bust out some of his old-school '90s Marky Mark moves.

However, Wahlberg couldn't help but leave his mark on the music being played at the dance.


Let's not forget, he didn't get famous for his acting but for showing off his abs in the "Good Vibrations" video.

Being that Wahlberg's time as a pop star was three decades ago, he couldn't believe it when he heard the music being played at the dance.

"[Grace] sat there on the edge of the stage, by the DJ. And then I'm sitting there with one other dad and I'm like, 'This is not an edited version of this song. There are explicit lyrics being played at a school dance for girls and I'm like no good,'" he said.

"I told the DJ and he's like, 'Oh, I thought it was.' I said, 'What are you doing?' I'm hearing F-bombs and this and that's not okay," Wahlberg said.

He's right. There's no place for music with explicit lyrics at a dance for 10-year-old children.

Wahlberg says the DJ didn't know he wasn't playing the edited version, but it's probably more likely that he didn't even realize the song was a problem. Pop music these days is filled with a numbing amount of violent and misogynistic lyrics.

A recent study from the University of Missouri found that nearly one-third of pop songs contain lyrics that degrade or demean women by portraying them as submissive or sexually objectified.

Currently, three of the top five songs on the Billboard Top 40 contain the word "bitch." One of them is sung in Korean.

It's odd that Americans have become more sensitive to misogyny in pop culture in films, television, and comedy, but still have a huge cultural blind-spot when it comes to music.

That's not a good thing, especially when pop music is marketed to teenagers.

"We know that music has a strong impact on young people and how they view their role in society," said Cynthia Frisby, a professor in the Missouri School of Journalism.

"Unlike rap or hip-hop, pop music tends to have a bubbly, uplifting sound that is meant to draw listeners in," Frisby continued. "But that can be problematic if the lyrics beneath the sound are promoting violence and misogynistic behavior."

Let's face it, pop stars are role models. Their examples show young people what to wear and how to behave. That's not to say that kids will blindly follow someone just because they like their music. But it has an undeniable effect.

Wahlberg, and any parent who monitors what their kids are listening to, deserve credit for protecting the minds and hearts of their kids.

Frisby has some great advice for parents concerned about negative imagery in pop music.

"Ask your daughters and sons what songs they like to listen to and have conversations about how the songs might impact their identity," Frisby said.

"For example, many songs might make young girls feel like they have to look and act provocative in order to get a boy to like them, when that isn't necessarily the case. If children and teens understand that what they are hearing isn't healthy behavior, then they might be more likely to challenge what they hear on the radio."

He's right. There's no place for music with explicit lyrics at a dance for 10-year-old children.

Wahlberg says the DJ didn't know he wasn't playing the edited version, but it's probably more likely that he didn't even realize the song was a problem. Pop music these days is filled with a numbing amount of violent and misogynistic lyrics.

A recent study from the University of Missouri found that nearly one-third of pop songs contain lyrics that degrade or demean women by portraying them as submissive or sexually objectified.

Currently, three of the top five songs on the Billboard Top 40 contain the word "bitch." One of them is sung in Korean.

It's odd that Americans have become more sensitive to misogyny in pop culture in films, television, and comedy, but still have a huge cultural blind-spot when it comes to music.

That's not a good thing, especially when pop music is marketed to teenagers.

"We know that music has a strong impact on young people and how they view their role in society," said Cynthia Frisby, a professor in the Missouri School of Journalism.

"Unlike rap or hip-hop, pop music tends to have a bubbly, uplifting sound that is meant to draw listeners in," Frisby continued. "But that can be problematic if the lyrics beneath the sound are promoting violence and misogynistic behavior."

Let's face it, pop stars are role models. Their examples show young people what to wear and how to behave. That's not to say that kids will blindly follow someone just because they like their music. But it has an undeniable effect.

Wahlberg, and any parent who monitors what their kids are listening to, deserve credit for protecting the minds and hearts of their kids.

Frisby has some great advice for parents concerned about negative imagery in pop music.

"Ask your daughters and sons what songs they like to listen to and have conversations about how the songs might impact their identity," Frisby said.

"For example, many songs might make young girls feel like they have to look and act provocative in order to get a boy to like them, when that isn't necessarily the case. If children and teens understand that what they are hearing isn't healthy behavior, then they might be more likely to challenge what they hear on the radio."


This article originally appeared on 03.03.20

Joy

X-rayed couples prove that love truly is blind

Love is blind, and it only takes a few creepy skeletons to prove it.

Photo from Ad Council/YouTube.

An audience watches an X-ray screen showing skeletons in love.

In this video from the Ad Council, they brilliantly use an X-ray screen to show couples as skeletons in love, but it's when they reveal the true identities of the people that they really pull at the old heartstrings.

Apparently love really is blind, and it only takes a few creepy bone people to prove it.


Watch the video below:

This article originally appeared on 03.04.15

A map of the United States post land-ice melt.




Land ice: We got a lot of it.

Considering the two largest ice sheets on earth — the one on Antarctica and the one on Greenland — extend more than 6 million square miles combined ... yeah, we're talkin' a lot of ice.

But what if it was all just ... gone? Not like gone gone, but melted?


If all of earth's land ice melted, it would be nothing short of disastrous.

And that's putting it lightly.

This video by Business Insider Science (seen below) depicts exactly what our coastlines would look like if all the land ice melted. And spoiler alert: It isn't great.

Lots of European cities like, Brussels and Venice, would be basically underwater.

In Africa and the Middle East? Dakar, Accra, Jeddah — gone.

Millions of people in Asia, in cities like Mumbai, Beijing, and Tokyo, would be uprooted and have to move inland.

South America would say goodbye to cities like Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.

And in the U.S., we'd watch places like Houston, San Francisco, and New York City — not to mention the entire state of Florida — slowly disappear into the sea.

All GIFs via Business Insider Science/YouTube.

Business Insider based these visuals off National Geographic's estimation that sea levels will rise 216 feet (!) if all of earth's land ice melted into our oceans.

There's even a tool where you can take a detailed look at how your community could be affected by rising seas, for better or worse.

Although ... looking at these maps, it's hard to imagine "for better" is a likely outcome for many of us.

Much of America's most populated regions would be severely affected by rising sea levels, as you'll notice exploring the map, created by Alex Tingle using data provided by NASA.

Take, for instance, the West Coast. (Goodbye, San Fran!)

Or the East Coast. (See ya, Philly!)

And the Gulf Coast. (RIP, Bourbon Street!)

I bring up the topic not just for funsies, of course, but because the maps above are real possibilities.

How? Climate change.

As we continue to burn fossil fuels for energy and emit carbon into our atmosphere, the planet gets warmer and warmer. And that, ladies and gentlemen, means melted ice.

A study published this past September by researchers in the U.S., U.K., and Germany found that if we don't change our ways, there's definitely enough fossil fuel resources available for us to completely melt the Antarctic ice sheet.

Basically, the self-inflicted disaster you see above is certainly within the realm of possibility.

"This would not happen overnight, but the mind-boggling point is that our actions today are changing the face of planet Earth as we know it and will continue to do so for tens of thousands of years to come," said lead author of the study Ricarda Winkelmann, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

If we want to stop this from happening," she says, "we need to keep coal, gas, and oil in the ground."

The good news? Most of our coastlines are still intact! And they can stay that way, too — if we act now.

World leaders are finallystarting to treat climate change like the global crisis that it is — and you can help get the point across to them, too.

Check out Business Insider's video below:

This article originally appeared on 12.08.15

Family

How 5 diabolical parents called their kids' bluff in hilarious ways

The next generation is in great, if diabolical, hands.

Photo by Phuong Tran on Unsplash



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:


1. Jill Duff's mom used an embarrassing outfit to teach her sister an important lesson:

"My sister was snotty to my Mom. She called her and pretty much demanded, 'Bring my band uniform to the high school!' She's the one who forgot her uniform in the first place. Then she told my Mom 'Do not come in the school, that would be so EMBARRASSING. Just wait for me by my car.'

So my Mom did just that. She stood by my sister's car, in the Texas heat, WEARING my sister's band uniform. All the kids walking out for the day saw it.

Parenting GOLD."

And Mom was like...

2. Jessica Klick got her sons new shoes ... but not the ones they wanted.

Image via iStock.

"Our 11 and 12 year olds at the time were complaining and whining and being ungrateful, saying how 'hard their life was.' For boys, the big thing is wearing those cool Steph Curry shoes and our boys LOVE their Currys!

So after hearing the last complaint my husband went to Walmart to buy white maypop leather shoes (the kind you see in geriatric centers) and high white socks. He brought those bad boys home, set them on the boys' dresser, and made them wear those things everywhere we went. Those devastated boys told us we were 'ruining their lives.'

I may or may not have laughed like a little girl when I dropped them off at school and watched them do the walk of shame."

3. Marisa Rodriguez Byers says she wished her mother was dead. And boy, did she regret it.

"I was a wretched, hormonal teenager. At the age of 13 I told my mom, 'I wish you were dead!' And at that moment, she 'died,' but to me only. (I had younger sisters).

She completely ignored me, didn't speak at me, didn't look at me, wouldn't cook for me, set my place at the table, wash my clothes, take me to school, NOTHING. After 8 days, I broke down in the middle of the night, went to her room, clutched her tightly while sobbing how sorry I was and how much I loved her and that I would NEVER say those words again. I'm 41 years old now, I have NEVER uttered those words or anything remotely like them after that incident."

After tough love, you gotta hug it out.

4. Jessica Hill gave her daughter a good scare — and, in turn, a new appreciation.

"I was grocery shopping with my three year old when she decided to start screaming for ice cream. There was no reasoning with her in this hulk-type rage. I swear she had super human strength as I struggled to get her out of the cart full of groceries.

I was completely unaware of the two police officers who were witnessing this wrestling match. She was still hitting, kicking, and screaming when I was stopped by the police officers in the parking lot. They thought I had abducted her. This happened long before we had smart phones full of our children's photos. They tried questioning her but she was still too busy throwing a fit, so I handed her over. I told them she could ride with them because I really needed a break and they could follow me home to see her birth certificate, baby book, etc. They started chuckling as one officer said, 'Spoken like a true mom!' I think they were more relieved than I was when she finally cried out, 'Mommy?'

The officer handed her back to me while the other went back inside the store to ensure there wasn't a distraught mother looking for her missing toddler. That evening my daughter told her dad she almost went to jail because she threw a fit, and I let her believe it. She didn't throw a fit in public again."

"Uhh, ma'am?"

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

"I didn't mean to scare her, so after this experience, I wanted to ensure my daughter had a healthy respect and appreciation for first responders. Today, I'm happy to say she is highly aware and appreciative of the police, firemen, paramedics, and military personnel who serve to protect her."

5. Erica Goodnight taught her son an incredible lesson that he carries to this day.

Photo by Mike Mozart/Flickr

"My kid was whining over not having anything to play with. So, without a word, I went to the garage and got a black 50 gallon trash bag and started putting in all the toys that he obviously didn't even realize were in our home to play with.

I loaded them AND him into the car and we drove to our local homeless shelter and gave every. single. toy. in the bag away. To a child who TRULY had nothing. And you know what? He didn't even cry. His eyes were opened to the ones who have nothing. He actually enlarged his heart that day. And, we still do it. We still take toys to kids with nothing at least once a year."

Parent win. Life lesson score.

There's a fine line between teaching your kids a tough lesson in a funny way and engaging in "humiliation parenting."

Making children wear a sign that says, "I sneak boys in at 3 a.m. and disrespect my parents and grandparents" or otherwise berating them publicly is a good way to erode trust between the two of you and seriously damage your relationship.

But calling their bluff on a ridiculous demand? Or having a little fun with how you choose to correct their bad attitude? That's just plain survival.

And that's what parenting is really all about.

You can read the whole hilarious exchange over on Facebook.

In the meantime, what's your favorite tough-love story?


This article originally appeared on 07.13.16


mage from Everyday Feminism, used with permission by creator Alli Kirkham.

There are many different scenarios where consent is necessary.



In 2013, Zerlina Maxwell ignited a firestorm of controversy when she strongly recommended we stop telling women how to not get raped.

Here are her words, from the transcript of her appearance on Sean Hannity's show:

"I don't think that we should be telling women anything. I think we should be telling men not to rape women and start the conversation there with prevention."

So essentially — instead of teaching women how to avoid rape, let's raise boys specifically not to rape.


There was a lot of ire raised from that idea. Maxwell was on the receiving end of a deluge of online harassment and scary threats because of her ideas, which is sadly common for outspoken women on the Internet.

People assumed it meant she was labeling all boys as potential rapists or that every man has a rape-monster he carries inside him unless we quell it from the beginning.

But the truth is most of the rapes women experience are perpetrated by people they know and trust. So fully educating boys during their formative years about what constitutes consent and why it's important to practice explicitly asking for consent could potentially eradicate a large swath of acquaintance rape. It's not a condemnation on their character or gender, but an extra set of tools to help young men approach sex without damaging themselves or anyone else.

news, campaigns, young men, cultural norms

Zerlina Maxwell is interviewed on "Hannity."

Image from “Hannity."

But what does teaching boys about consent really look like in action?

Well, there's the viral letter I wrote to my teen titled "Son, It's Okay If You Don't Get Laid Tonight" explaining his responsibility in the matter. I wanted to show by example that Maxwell's words weren't about shaming or blaming boys who'd done nothing wrong yet, but about giving them a road map to navigate their sexual encounters ahead.

There are also rape prevention campaigns on many college campuses, aiming to reach young men right at the heart of where acquaintance rape is so prevalent. Many men are welcoming these efforts.

And then there are creative endeavors to find the right metaphors and combination of words to get people to shake off their acceptance of cultural norms and see rape culture clearly.


This is brilliant:

consent, rape prevention, community, consent culture

A comic about different types of consent.

Image from Everyday Feminism, used with permission by creator Alli Kirkham.

There you have it. Seven comparisons that anyone can use to show how simple and logical the idea of consent really is. Consent culture is on its way because more and more people are sharing these ideas and getting people to think critically. How can we not share an idea whose time has come?

This article originally appeared on 06.27.15