Ever really listened to an 11-year-old? They're a fascinating mix between a child and an adult.
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What happens when you let 11-year-olds across the world talk about their lives, loves, family, country, even their world?

11 years is, in some respects, an incredibly long time to be on this earth. At the same time, it's just the beginning of so much more. For just a few years, they're perched at the jump-off point from childhood to adulthood. It's like they're right between things.

There is a really beautiful project that ended up as a full movie called "I Am Eleven." The movie's creator (and Editor, Producer, Director) Genevieve Bailey, said about the making of it:


“With so much more information available at their fingertips now than we had when I was young, I wondered, are 11-year-olds still happy and excited about inheriting this crazy world? Are they having as much fun as I did when I was 11? Are they hopeful?"

She toured the globe, talking to 11-year-olds who had something to say about their life, their country, their world.


As the filmmaker wrote in a blog post about the movie, "I believe that too often we as a culture focus on what adults can teach children, without acknowledging what we can also learn from young people."

Some answers to the world's problems might just be lodged in the heads of youths like these.

In fact, one mother came up to Bailey after seeing the film and responded, "It's like a parenting book written by children."

And one 11-year-old girl wanted to say something to the filmmaker at an international premiere of the film in Cleveland, Ohio.

"What you have done is very interesting. Most documentary filmmakers choose to show us what is going wrong in the world, but you have chosen to show us what is going right. As kids we want to know about the good stuff!"

Kids are kids the world over. And 11-year-olds are ... just that. They have similar worries and things that make them happy, and they frequently don't see the kinds of divisions and walls that we do as adults. And that's a beautiful thing.

Raising a child to the ripe old age of 11 is hard work.

Based on what these 11-years-old-on-the-edge-of-adult kids have to say, their parents did a lot of things right.

Magical.

Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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