Families don't look like they used to. And these heartwarming stories prove that's a great thing.

This time of year is all about family.

The one you were raised in, the one you chose for yourself, or the one that chose you. There's nothing better than spending time with the people you love, especially when you're surrounded by twinkling lights, rich desserts, and so. many. hugs.



All GIFs via Tylenol/YouTube.

But the best part of family? There's no wrong way to do it.

This heartwarming video from Tylenol's #HowWeFamily campaign is a 60-second reminder that families come in all different sizes, complete with parents, aunts, cousins, stepbrothers, friends, and more.

Trust and believe, your heart is about to grow three sizes today.

(And if you're ready to go full-feels, just scroll down for a closer look at a few ordinary families with extraordinary stories.)

Family is an action word. It's a commitment to make time, and to care for one another.

The McKennas live that every day. For 17 years, stay-at-home dad Richard has managed the day-to-day whirlwind that comes with raising five children.

"It really doesn't matter who it is that's parenting you," said Mrs. McKenna. "It's a matter of love and care and concern."

Being part of a family takes patience, sacrifice, and hard work.

Like the Butlers, two parents in the armed forces who made the difficult decision to deploy at the same time, leaving their young son with his four grandparents for a full year.

While the time away was tough, the Butler children now benefit from close relationships with their six loving parents.

Not to mention a strong foundation of love and trust.

Take Lizzie Vincent, who became a mom to her nephew after her sister and brother-in-law passed away. She used cookie baking and storytelling to spark a lasting connection.


Family is home. It's where you find your place and learn what makes you you.

Like the Ekehs, who moved from Nigeria to New York a decade ago to provide their sons with new opportunities.

One son, Harold, was accepted to 13 universities last spring — including all eight Ivy League schools! But he remains humbled, driven, and filled with gratitude for his family.


"I describe my family as a body. My parents are the brain and the heart. And my brothers, we're like the hands and the feet. We all have our different functions, but we all come together to accomplish one goal."

Yes, family is all of this. But it's also fun.


Seriously, so much fun.

Every family is different and has a unique story to tell.

The American family landscape has changed dramatically throughout the course of history, but never as fast and as furious as in recent years.

These shifts are creating diverse, blended, and nontraditional families (if there ever was a tradition to begin with).

For example, in 2014, the U.S. birthrate declined for the sixth year in a row. And the number of grandparents living with or serving as primary caregivers for their own grandchildren jumped 22% from 2000 to 2011.

Cultural and political shifts have brought changes too. A 2013 report revealed 17% of same-sex couples are raising children. And same-sex couple parents and their children are more likely to be people of color or ethnic minorities.

So this season, and throughout the year, show your family some love.

Whether you came to your clan by birth, marriage, adoption, or serendipity, embrace the people you call home and take in every magical moment.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
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via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture