"My experience has made me appreciate the power of the ripple effect."
We've all experienced the ripple effect. You throw a pebble into a pond and then watch as that single small action creates wider and wider waves throughout the water. That one small pebble becomes the source of a much broader outcome.
In this inspiring speech, narrator Neha Gupta explains that one person, no matter how small, can effect widespread change in the same way as a small pebble in a pond. She and the other students featured in the video below are working to make the world a better place and encourage other youth to do the same.
"Convert your empathy into action and then let those actions ripple out."
When the small pebble you throw into a pond is actually an act of kindness, how far can the ripples go?
A recently posted story on Reddit shows a mother confidently standing up for her family after being bullied by a teacher for her culture. Reddit user Flowergardens0 posted the story to the AITA forum, where people ask whether they are wrong in a specific situation.
Over 5,600 people commented on the story, and an overwhelming majority thought the mother was right. Here’s what went down:
“I (34F) have a (5M) son who attends preschool. A few hours after I picked him up from school today, I got a phone call from his teacher,” Flowergardens0 wrote. “She made absolutely no effort to sound kind when she, in an extremely rude and annoyed tone, told me to stop packing my son such ‘disgusting and inappropriate’ lunches."
"I felt absolutely appalled when she said this, as me and the teacher have, up until now, always maintained a very friendly relationship. She added that the lunches I’m packing my son are ‘very distracting for the other students and have an unpleasant odor.’ I told her that I understand her concerns, as the lunches I pack are definitely not the healthiest, but the lunches are according to my son’s preferences.”
The mother added that she usually sends her son to school with small celery sticks, blue cheese and goat cheese, kimchi, spam and spicy Sriracha-flavored Doritos.
“I ended the call by saying that I very much appreciated her worries, but that at the end of the day, I am not going to drastically change my son’s lunches all of a sudden, and that it’s not my fault if other students are ‘distracted’ by his meal,” the mother continued. “It is very important to me what my son enjoys, and I want him to like my lunches.”
The teacher replied with an email saying the mom's response was "unacceptable" and that his lunches were “just too inappropriate to be sent to school any longer.”
“I haven’t responded yet and don’t want to. I want to maintain a healthy relationship with my son’s teachers. I am confused as to what to do,” the mom ended her story.
It’s clear that the teacher is way out of line in this situation because the child is eating food that is entirely normal in Korean culture. It may have a strong odor to those who aren’t used to it, but that’s just an opportunity for the teacher to explain to the children how people from different parts of the world eat different types of food. It’s not that hard.
The only reason the teacher should have any choice over what the child eats is if it is egregiously unhealthy and may cause them harm.
The most popular commenter on the forum suggested that the mother bring the issue to the principal’s attention.
"Report her to the principal," Thatshygal717 wrote. "Her comments regarding your son’s food are 'disgusting' and 'have an unpleasant tone' aka cough cough racist tone. She’s too inappropriate to be teaching at the school any longer."
Another commenter, muffiewriters, assured the mother that she was doing nothing wrong. "Your son's food is perfectly normal," they wrote. "For a 5-year-old. Your family's food is normal. The teacher is TA for not recognizing that.”
The mother hasn’t shared what she did next, but she’s handled the situation perfectly so far. She told the teacher that it’s not her fault if other kids are distracted by her food and that she will not change her son’s diet to please other people.
The beauty of America is that we are a country of many different cultures mixed like a beautiful bowl of salad. It’s great that so many people supported the mother and reminded her that her family has every right in the world to eat the food they love, and if it bothers anyone, they can keep it to themselves.
P.S. That teacher has no idea what she’s talking about. Korean food is delicious.
Seeing the northern lights is a common bucket list adventure for many people. After all, it ticks a lot of boxes—being a dazzling light show, rich historical experience and scientific phenomenon all rolled into one. Plus there’s the uncertainty of it all, never quite knowing if you’ll witness a vivid streak of otherworldly colors dance across the sky…or simply see an oddly colored cloud. It’s nature’s slot machine, if you will.
Traveler and content creator Pency Lucero was willing to take that gamble. After thorough research, she stumbled upon an Airbnb in Rörbäck, Sweden with an actual picture of the northern lights shining above the cabin in the listing. With that kind of photo evidence, she felt good about her odds.
However, as soon as she landed, snow began falling so hard that the entire sky was “barely visible,” she told Upworthy. Martin, the Airbnb host, was nonetheless determined to do everything he could to ensure his guests got to see the spectacle, even offering to wake Lucero up in the middle of the night if he saw anything.
Then one night, the knock came.
In a video Lucero posted to TikTok, which now has over 12 million views, we hear Martin ushering her out to take a peek. Then we see Lucero’s face light up just before seeing the sky do the same.
“I thought it was a prank,” the onscreen text reads in the clip. “And then I see it….”
“I was mostly in awe of what this Earth is capable of,” Lucero recalled. “I never expected it to be THAT beautiful for the naked eye.” This is a hopeful sentiment against the widely accepted notion that the northern lights are often better looking in photos than they are in real life.
As Lucero asserted in a follow-up video, “Our video doesn’t do it justice at all…I would argue it’s even better for the naked eye.”
Others were quick to back Lucero with anecdotes of their own experience.
“It’s definitely possible to see it like in the pics. I saw it this winter in Norway, there was bright green, purple and so much movement.”
“They’re so much better in person, the way they dance and move around is insane and beautiful.”
Of course, if you ask Martin, who everyone agreed was the best host ever, seeing guest reactions of pure wonder and joy is even “better than the lights themselves.” But still, he can’t deny that there’s a breathtaking magic to it all. He shared with Upworthy that “Sometimes it feels like it will pull you up in the sky like you are in the middle of it. I wish everyone would have the chance to witness it.”
Dad on TikTok shared how he addressed his son's bullying.
What do you do when you find out your kid bullied someone? For many parents, the first step is forcing an apology. While this response is of course warranted, is it really effective? Some might argue that there are more constructive ways of handling the situation that teach a kid not only what they did wrong, but how to make things right again.
Single dadPatrick Forseth recently shared how he made a truly teachable moment out of his son, Lincoln, getting into trouble for bullying. Rather than forcing an apology, Forseth made sure his son was actively part of a solution.
The thought process behind his decision, which he explained in a now-viral TikTok video, is both simple and somewhat racial compared to how many parents have been encouraged to handle similar situations.
“I got an email a few days ago from my 9-year-old son's teacher that he had done a ‘prank’ to a fellow classmate and it ended up embarrassing the classmate and hurt his feelings,” the video begins.
At this point, Forseth doesn’t split hairs. “I don't care who you are, that's bullying,” he said. “If you do something to somebody that you know has the potential end result of them being embarrassed in front of a class or hurt—you’re bullying.”
So, Forseth and Lincoln sat down for a long talk (a talk, not a lecture) about appropriate punishment and how it would have felt to be on the receiving end of such a prank.
From there, Forseth told his son that he would decide how to make things right, making it a masterclass in taking true accountability.
“I demanded nothing out of him. I demanded no apology, I demanded no apology to the teacher,” he continued, adding, “I told him that we have the opportunity to go back and make things right. We can't take things back, but we can try to correct things and look for forgiveness.”
So what did Lincoln do? He went back to his school and actually talked to the other boy he pranked. After learning that they shared a love of Pokémon, he then went home to retrieve two of his favorite Pokémon cards as a peace offering, complete with a freshly cleaned case.
Lincoln would end up sharing with his dad that the other boy was so moved by the gesture that he would end up hugging him.
“I just want to encourage all parents to talk to your kids,” Forseth concluded. “Let's try to avoid just the swat on the butt [and] send them to their room. Doesn't teach them anything.”
In Forseth’s opinion, kids get far more insight by figuring out how to resolve a problem themselves. “That's what they're actually going to face in the real world once they move out of our nests.”
He certainly has a point. A slap on the wrist followed by being marched down somewhere to say, “I’m sorry,” only further humiliates kids most of the time. With this gentler approach, kids are taught the intrinsic value of making amends after wrongdoing, not to mention the power of their own autonomy. Imagine that—blips in judgment can end up being major character-building moments.
Kudos to this dad and his very smart parenting strategy.
When you are a child who has been abused by people who are supposed to protect you, how do you feel safe?
That question is the heart of Bikers Against Child Abuse International (B.A.C.A.), an organization dedicated to creating "a safer environment for abused children." With specific training and extensive security checks, the frequently big and burly members of B.A.C.A. serve as protectors of chid abuse survivors, giving vulnerable children people to call on when they feel scared, and even showing up in court when a child asks them to.
In short, they become an abused child's "biker family," and they let the child—and everyone else—know that no one messes with their family.
As the B.A.C.A. mission statement says:
"We exist as a body of Bikers to empower children to not feel afraid of the world in which they live. We stand ready to lend support to our wounded friends by involving them with an established, united organization. We work in conjunction with local and state officials who are already in place to protect children. We desire to send a clear message to all involved with the abused child that this child is part of our organization, and that we are prepared to lend our physical and emotional support to them by affiliation, and our physical presence. We stand at the ready to shield these children from further abuse. We do not condone the use of violence or physical force in any manner, however, if circumstances arise such that we are the only obstacle preventing a child from further abuse, we stand ready to be that obstacle."
B.A.C.A. members do whatever they can to make abused kids feel safe, which is huge for children who have been hurt, especially by the adults who are supposed to love and protect them.
First, they set up an initial ride to welcome a child into the biker family. Kids are offered a vest and a patch, which they have the option of accepting or not—there's never pressure put on a child. They take a photograph with the child, which the child keeps to remind them that they have family to call on whenever they feel afraid. They serve as escorts when kids feel frightened to go somewhere. They show up at court hearings to help kids feel less intimidated. They come to kids' houses when called to help support the family or serve as a deterrent for further abuse.
Though B.A.C.A. absolutely does not physically confront perpetrators, simply their presence provides the message that a child has a band of protectors behind them. Watch these bikers in action:
2019 Bikers Against Child Abuse International informational video. Visit www.bacaworld.org or find us on Facebook - Bikers Against Child Abuse International
And check out the B.A.C.A creed to see how dedicated these folks are to this work:
"I am a Member of Bikers Against Child Abuse. The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.
My past has prepared me, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I'm finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by the faith in my works, and lean on the strength of my brothers and sisters. I love with patience, live by prayer, and labor with power.
My fate is set, my gait is fast, my goal is the ultimate safety of children. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are tried and true, my Guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won't give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and showed up for all wounded children. I must go until I drop, ride until I give out, and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me, for He will see my B.A.C.A. backpatch and know that I am one of His. I am a Member of Bikers Against Child Abuse, and this is my creed."
When Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi both landed their high jumps at 2.37 meters, they were in the battle for Olympic gold. But when both jumpers missed the next mark—the Olympic record of 2.39 meters—three times each, they were officially tied for first place.
In such a tie, the athletes would usually do a "jump-off" to determine who wins gold and who wins silver. But as the official began to explain the options to Barshim and Tamberi, Barshim asked, "Can we have two golds?"
"It's possible," the official responded. "It depends, if you both decide..." And before he'd even told them how sharing the gold would work, the two jumpers looked at each other, nodded, and then launched into a wholesome and joyful celebration guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.
(If you are unable to view the video above, check it out on NBC's YouTube channel here.)
The two jumpers have been competing against one another for more than a decade and are friends on and off the field, so getting to share the gold is a win-win—literally—for both of them. It's also a historic choice. According to the BBC, the last time competing track and field Olympians shared the gold medal podium was in 1912.
The friendship and camaraderie between the two athletes are palpable and their immediate decision to share the gold truly embodies the Olympic spirit.
"I look at him, he looks at me, and we know it," Barshim said, according to the CBC. "We just look at each other and we know, that is it, it is done. There is no need."
"He is one of my best friends," he added, "not only on the track, but outside the track. We work together. This is a dream come true. It is the true spirit, the sportsman spirit, and we are here delivering this message."
Barshim was the silver medalist in the event in the Rio 2016 Olympics, and Tamberi suffered a career-threatening injury prior to those games, which took him out of medal contention.
"After my injuries, I just wanted to come back," Tamberi told CNN. "But now I have this gold, it's incredible. I dreamed of this so many times. I was told in 2016 just before Rio, there was a risk I wouldn't be able to compete anymore. It's been a long journey."
What a beautiful display of sportsmanship, excellence, and genuine human connection. This is what the Olympics are all about. Love to see it.
These days, we could all use something to smile about, and few things do a better job at it than watching actor Christopher Walken dance.
A few years back, some genius at HuffPo Entertainment put together a clip featuring Walken dancing in 50 of his films, and it was taken down. But it re-emerged in 2014 and the world has been a better place for it.
Walken became famous as a serious actor after his breakout roles in "Annie Hall" (1977) and "The Deer Hunter" (1978) so people were pretty shocked in 1981 when he tap-danced in Steve Martin's "Pennies from Heaven."
But Walken actually started his career in entertainment as a dancer. He took his first dance lessons at the age of three. "It was very typical for people—and I mean working-class people—to send their kids to dancing school," he told Interview Magazine. "You'd learn ballet, tap, acrobatics, usually you'd even learn to sing a song," he later explained to Interview magazine.
As a child, he also studied tap dance and toured in musicals. He even danced with a young Liza Minelli. "I'd been around dancers my whole life, having watched my parents make musicals at MGM, and Chris reminded me of so many of the dancers I knew growing up," Minelli said according to Entertainment Weekly. "He's talented in every way."
Craig Zadan, Executive Producer of "Peter Pan Live!," agrees with Minelli. "I think that if he had been around in the heyday of MGM, he would have been a big star of musicals on film," he told Entertainment Weekly.
His dance moves were put center stage in 2001 in Spike Jonze's video for Fatboy Slim's song "Weapon of Choice." Walken says he did it because one day he'll be too old to cut a rug. "You think, 'Well, do it now!' You know, you get too decrepit to dance," he told Entertainment Weekly.