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Millennials are struggling to be the dads they thought they'd be. This study shows why.

American work policies are making it harder for young fathers to "have it all."

Millennials are struggling to be the dads they thought they'd be. This study shows why.

Young men today grew up planning to "have it all."

The fulfilling job...

Millennials have been found to care more about having a job that both pays the bills and has an impact.


...the satisfying, equal partnership...

Millennials have the most feminist generation of men yet. They are a lot more equal in their beliefs about family and gender roles and want to be a true equal in every aspect of their relationships.

...and the ability to be a present father.

Part of their more egalitarian beliefs stems in the desire to be active participants in raising their children.

Image via PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay.

But now that they're working fathers, they're finding it a lot harder to do than they thought.

A recent study published in the American Sociological Review found that work policies are behind the change in millennial men's attitudes about family and gender roles once they have children. Despite having the best intentions, they struggled to maintain the equal partnership when they had to balance career, parenting, and love.

If only it were as easy as making this ponytail. GIF from " The perfect ponytail in 5 seconds."

It turns out that a dose of the real world made them change what they expected from their relationships almost entirely.

The Families and Work Institute found that before they have children, only 35% of millennial men believed women should stay at home as caregivers while men should "bring home the bacon." Once they have kids, though, that number jumps to 53%.

OK, not this type of bacon, but you know what I mean. Photo by Didriks/Flickr.

It's not that working and having children suddenly makes men more sexist. Rather it's that millennials find that the workplace doesn't offer the flexibility that they need to reach their goals of having an equal partnership. So they make do with what they have and find that going the traditional route works better.

Why? Experts found that family-friendly work policies still skewed heavily toward women.

Young men might be more feminist, but their work policies are lagging a bit behind. While we often hear about maternity leave policies, paternity leave is far from the norm (about 10-15% of employers offer it paid). This is particularly depressing when we consider the United States often seems to rank last in global paid parental leave rankings. Even President Barack Obama has said we need to stop treating family leave as an issue only women care about in his 2015 State of the Union address.

And even when these policies are available to men, they are often are discouraged from using them.

Netflix's recent announcement to offer up to a year's parental leave (for men and women) is a great example of the kind of family-friendly policies we need across the board. But it isn't enough just to have a good policy on paper.

Men have reported facing stigma in the workplace when they did take the family-friendly options available to them. Mets player Daniel Murphy was infamously criticized for taking a three-day paternity leave. This makes it clear we need an attitude shift that doesn't judge men for doing what they believe is best for their families.

The fix is simple: We need policies — and attitudes — that empower fathers to be the men they want to be.

It isn't just great for the fathers' participation in child care and child development. It has economic benefits for family members as well. It sounds like everybody wins. And who wouldn't want that?

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Officer Stagg meeting Sherry Smith on WISH-TV.

Indianapolis Police Officer Jeff Stagg selflessly maintained the roadside memorial of Shelby Smith, who had been killed by a drunk driver. He picked up trash and placed little plastic flowers, figurines and rocks around it to keep it presentable. Though Shelby died nearly 22 years ago, Officer Stagg didn't want her to be forgotten. And now, his act of kindness won't be forgotten either.

Passerby Kaleb Hall (@kalebhall00 on TikTok) noticed the officer cleaning up the site and asked him what he was doing here. Kaleb had already thought the behavior a little uncharacteristic, "a cop cleaning up trash in the hood," so he went over to inquire.

After explaining that Shelby's memorial was in his patrol area and that he guessed her family had moved away, Officer Stagg told Kaleb, "no one's keeping it up anymore, so I just wanna make sure it stays kept up."

Stagg had noticed the memorial had become surrounded by overgrown grass, weeds and trash. After driving past it every day, Officer Stagg thought enough was enough.


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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."