Black men + mass incarceration= good business.
Their connection is romantic comedy worthy.
When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.
The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.
Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.
“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”
Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.
Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲♬ iris -
“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”
Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”
The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.
"No the chills I got omggg."
"This is the cutest thing I have watched."
"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"
In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.
Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.
They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."
"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.
A simple idea with big impact.
School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.
Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.
The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”
For Teachers/Therapists: I worked in a CT elementary school when Sandy Hook happened.
What helped: We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the “other kids who were scared” have something calm to look at.
— Dr. K8 PsyD (@psych_k8) May 25, 2022
“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.
It also took some pressure off to focus on making “other kids” feel better. Campbell noted that even if they are scared, it’s “easier to talk about the ‘other kids.’”
Rather than use the word “safe,” which can “be a loaded concept for kids who never feel safe,” Campbell used “calm,” and “peaceful,” which really resonated with the students.
But really, it gave the kids something to “do” that felt useful. Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless. And they loved the idea that they could help “other kids” feel better (they were the scared ones, but it’s easier to talk about the “other kids”)— Dr. K8 PsyD (@psych_k8) May 25, 2022
Pretty soon, the school was filled with “rainbows, beaches, pretty flowers, playgrounds, and happy scenery,” which stayed up for weeks.
“I’m pretty sure it helped the adults too,” she quipped.
Art therapy can be a valuable tool for any age, but it can be particularly beneficial for children who (hopefully) have not had the complex, hard-to-articulate emotions that come as a result of trauma. As psychologist Cathy Malchiodi explains in her book “The Art Therapy Sourcebook,” “the language of visual art—colors, shapes, lines, and images—speak to us in ways that words cannot.”
Incorporating a sense of helping others and focusing on “calm” images was another brilliant layer Campbell added onto her exercise, and she soon received a flood of support for her suggestion. Overall, people were relieved and inspired.
“Beautiful use of a simple mindfulness practice to foster peace, calm, and altruism-all important in times of crisis. Thanks for sharing,” one person wrote.
“Honestly the idea made me feel like a breath of fresh air. Such a sweet and positive thing, so simple but effective,” wrote another.
The massacre at Robb Elementary in Ulvade, Texas, is the second-deadliest elementary school shooting in the United States, following Sandy Hook in 2012. There’s no way around these statistics. It’s nauseating and horrific. I feel for the parents and teachers trying to fight for change, protect their children and keep up morale all at the same time. Happy doodles might seem trivial during such a dark period for humanity, but as Campbell can attest, they do make a difference.
Mozart was known for his musical talent at a young age, playing the harpsichord at age 4 and writing original compositions at age 5. So perhaps it's fitting that a video of 5-year-old piano prodigy Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani playing Mozart has gone viral as people marvel at his musical abilities.
Alberto's legs can't even reach the pedals, but that doesn't stop his little hands from flying expertly over the keys as incredible music pours out of the piano at the 10th International Musical Competition "Città di Penne" in Italy. Even if you've seen young musicians play impressively, it's hard not to have your jaw drop at this one. Sometimes a kid comes along who just clearly has a gift.
Of course, that gift has been helped along by two professional musician parents. But no amount of teaching can create an ability like this.
Alberto started playing in 2020 in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Italy was one of the first countries to experience a serious lockdown, and Alberto's mother used the opportunity to start teaching her son to play piano. Alessia Cingolani and her husband Simone Cartuccia are both music conservatory graduates, and mom Alessia told Italian entertainment website Contrataque that she and her husband recognized Alberto's talent immediately.
She said that although Alberto spends a lot of time at the piano, he also has plenty of time for school and play and television, like a normal kid.
There's genuinely nothing "normal" about this kid's piano playing, though. Watch:
Wow, right? There are countless adults who took years of piano lessons and never got to that level of playing. It's like he's channeling Amadeus himself.
According to Corriere Adriatico, by the time he was 4 1/2 years old, Alberto had participated in seven national and international online competitions and won first place in all of them. His mother told the outlet that he started out practicing for about 10 minutes a day and gradually increased to three hours.
"He has a remarkable flair for the piano," she said. Um, yeah. Clearly.
Some commenters expressed some concern for the boy based on his seriousness and what looks like dark circles under his eyes in the video, but if you check out other videos of Alberto playing at home, he is more relaxed. Most of his playing and competition entries have been done online, so performing for a crowd is probably new for him. And in interviews, his mother has made it clear that they prioritize normal childhood activities.
Some children are just genuine prodigies, and Alberto certainly seems to fit that bill. Can't wait to see what kind of musical future awaits this kid.