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A mom describes her tween son's brain. It's a must-read for all parents

"Sometimes I just feel really angry and I don’t know why."

A mom describes her tween son's brain. It's a must-read for all parents


It started with a simple, sincere question from a mother of an 11-year-old boy.

An anonymous mother posted a question to Quora, a website where people can ask questions and other people can answer them. This mother wrote:

How do I tell my wonderful 11 year old son, (in a way that won't tear him down), that the way he has started talking to me (disrespectfully) makes me not want to be around him (I've already told him the bad attitude is unacceptable)?

It's a familiar scenario for those of us who have raised kids into the teen years. Our sweet, snuggly little kids turn into moody middle schoolers seemingly overnight, and sometimes we're left reeling trying to figure out how to handle their sensitive-yet-insensitive selves.



Jo Eberhardt, a fantasy writer and mother of two from Australia, penned a reply that is so spot on that it keeps repeatedly popping up on social media. When you nail it, you nail it—and this mother nails it.

"Ah, puberty," she wrote, "It changes our sweet, wonderful little boys into sweet, eye-rolling, angsty, accidentally disrespectful, but still wonderful young proto-men." Yup.

Eberhardt then described a discussion she had with her 11 1/2 -year-old son when he started going through this stage—a conversation they had in the car, which is usually the best place to have potentially uncomfortable discussions with kids.

She told her son that she'd messed up in the way she'd talked to him about puberty, then explained exactly what was happening in his brain.

I've spent all this time talking to you about the way puberty changes your body," Eberhardt told her son, "and what to expect as you go through the changes, but I completely forgot to talk to you about what's going on in your brain right now. Puberty is the time when your brain grows and changes more than at any other time in your life — well, except for when you're a baby, perhaps. So I really let you down by not preparing you for that. I'm so sorry."

Her son accepted her apology, then asked why is his brain was changing.

“That's the amazing thing," she told him. "Did you know that your brain grew and developed so quickly when you were little that by the time you were about five or six, your brain was almost as big and powerful as an adult's brain?"

"But here's the thing," she continued, "Even though your brain was super powerful, the instructions were for a child's brain. And all the information about building an adult's brain was a bit… let's say fuzzy. So your brain did the best it could, but it didn't really know what kind of person you were going to be back then, or what shape brain you were going to need."

“Now we come to puberty," she went on. "See, puberty is amazing. Not only is your body being transformed from a child's body to an adult's body, your brain has to be completely rewritten from a child's brain to an adult's brain."

“That sounds hard," her son responded.

“Yeah, it is," Eberhardt replied. “That's why I wish I'd warned you first. See, it takes a lot of energy to completely rewrite a brain. That's one of the reasons you get tired quicker at the moment — and that, of course, manifests in you being crankier and less patient than normal."

Eberhardt paused, then added, “That must be really frustrating for you."

Her son looked over at her, wiping his eyes. “It is," he responded. Sometimes I just feel really angry and I don't know why."

It's amazing what happens when we explain to kids the physiological reasons for what they're going through.

Eberhardt continued, “The other thing is that one of the first parts of your brain that gets super-sized to be like an adult is the amygdala. That's the part that controls your emotions and your survival instincts. You know how we've talked about fight/flight/freeze before, and how sometimes our brains think that being asked to speak in public is the same level of threat as being attacked by a sabre tooth tiger?"

Her son laughed. “Yes. So you have to tell your brain that there's no sabre tooth tiger to help you calm down."

“That's right," Eberhardt replied. "Well, that's what the amygdala looks after: sabre tooth tiger warnings and big emotions. So, the thing with puberty is that all of a sudden you've got an adult-sized amygdala hitting all your emotion buttons and your sabre-tooth tiger buttons. That must be really hard for you to manage."

Her son nodded and said, “Sometimes I don't know why I say the things I do. They just come out, and then I feel bad."

This is the moment where what a parent says can make or break a kid's spirit. But Eberhardt handled it with empathy and expertise.

“I know, Sweetheart," she said before explaining:

“See, the last part of your brain that gets rewritten is right at the front of your head. It's called the frontal cortex. And that's the part of your brain that's good at decision making and understanding consequences. So you've got this powerful adult amygdala hitting you with massive emotions, but you've still got a fuzzy child frontal cortex that can't make decisions or understand consequences as quickly as the amygdala wants you to. It pretty much sucks."

“So it's not my fault?" her son asked.

“No, it's puberty's fault your brain works the way it does," Eberhardt answered. "But that doesn't mean it's not your responsibility to recognise what's going on and change your actions. It's not easy, but it's not impossible, either. Your feelings are your feelings, and they're always okay. But you get to choose your actions. You get to choose what you do with your feelings. And, when you make a mistake, you get to choose to apologise for that mistake and make amends."

Eberhardt said she then paused for dramatic effect. “That's how you prove that you're becoming an adult."

It's also remarkable what happens when we empathize and communicate with our kids instead of simply chastising them.

Her son responded with a perfectly understandable and relatable, “Puberty sucks."

“Puberty absolutely sucks," Eberhardt responded. “I'm not in your head, but I can only imagine that it's a mess of confusion and chaos, and you don't know from one minute to the next how you feel about things."

Her son looked at her in surprise. “Yes! Exactly!"

“If it's confusing for you living inside there," Eberhardt continued, "imagine how confusing it is for me, when I only see your actions."

“That must be really confusing," her son agreed.

She nodded. “Do you know what that means?"

“What?"

“It means sometimes I'm going to make mistakes. Sometimes I'm going to get upset at things you do because I don't understand what's going on in your head. Sometimes I'm going to forget that you're halfway to being a man, and accidentally treat you like a child. Sometimes I'm going to expect more from you than you're able to give. This is my first time parenting someone through puberty, and I'm going to make mistakes. So can I ask you a favour?"

“What is it?"

“Can you just keep telling me what's going on in your head? The more we talk, the easier it will be for both of us to get through this puberty thing unscathed. Yeah?"

“Yeah," her son said.

When we let our kids know that we're going through these various phases together, it's easier to work with them instead of against them.

Eberhardt said they "had a cuddle" before they got out of the car. She also said this conversation didn't magically make her son always speak respectfully or make her remember that he's not a little boy anymore. However, it did open up lines of communication and gave them a shared language to use.

For example, she wrote, "He knows what I mean when I say, 'Sweetheart, I'm not a sabre tooth tiger.'"

Ebehardt wrapped up her excellent answer by saying that she and her son are "muddling through this crazy puberty thing" together, and that she's "completely confident that he'll come out the other end a sweet, wonderful young man."

It's always so helpful to see examples of good parenting in action. Ms. Eberhardt's response is something all parents can tuck away for the appropriate time. It's also a great reminder that our tweens aren't trying to try us—they're just trying to get used to their new and improved brains.


This story originally appeared on 1.05.19



Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Prisma Photo via Canva/Bianca Marie Arreola via Canva

Women are trying Free People's 'micro shorts' with hilarious commentary


Summer is just around the corner, that means it's time to break out those razors and put on some shorts. That means retailers are starting to advertise their their summer collections to prime people for the newest trends. But there are some trends that may need to be retired before they catch on if you take the reviews of women online.

Free People, a specialty lifestyle brand for bohemian styled fashion, have released a new style of shorts. The internet seems to be slightly confused on if the material they received from the retail brand is supposed to be shorts or something else entirely. They're supposedly shorts, but they're "micro shorts," which are similar to shorts you'd see in the wild.

They have two leg holes, a hole for your body and less material than pants. Checks off all the requirements for a pair of shorts...except, they appear to be about the length of underwear. That's not an exaggeration and to prove that point a couple of women bought some to try on so you don't have to. The videos are not only honest but hilarious.


In one video Nicole Walters, a New York Times best selling author and mom to three girls decided to order the shorts to see how they looked on someone with, "thigh meat." She wears a size 12 and often jokes about being a curvier on the bottom. When she pulled the shorts out, it looked as if she was going to have to perform a magic trick to get them on. They looked to be the size a small child would wear, but they seemed to have gone on easily even though they looked extremely uncomfortable. She looked uncomfortable. The viewers likely looked uncomfortable.

"Oh wow. They're in there and by in there I mean everywhere. There's a lot of thigh meat happening right now in the, this region," Walters says as she gestures at her upper thighs. "There's some thigh meat, um...uh...I feel like they're definitely in some places that I didn't know I had."

Walter's review of the shorts has people in stitches as she jokes about her Christianity falling out of the shorts.

"It’s the Barbie walk for me lol!!! Thank you for your service," one person says.

"The way you warn us that you’re going to turn around almost made me scream with laughter," someone writes.

"I'm just going to go ahead and dial 911 for help bc looks like you may need the jaws of life to come out them shorts...lol!! Your commentary had me dying laughing..lol," another commenter jokes.

In another Free People "micro shorts" try on video, Nicole Story Dent braved the itty bitty shorts to show her audience the summer trend they can look forward to seeing. The first pair of shorts has multiple flaps that appear to be large pockets which inspires Dent to pretend to fly in them before the discomfort sinks in.

"It's kinda giving waitress...if they ever want to make a Waffle House-Hooters hybrid, we have their uniform, she says. "We have been asking for more pockets so they delivered. Speaking of delivered, you could deliver a baby without having to take these shorts off."

Dent guesses that the shorts would be more like "jundies" or "janties" than jorts, the shorthand term for jean shorts. Commenters couldn't stop laughing at her description of the shorts while others provided her with words of wisdom.

"Do NOT drop it low in these jundies, that kind of contact with the club floor is NOT hygienic," someone writes.

"'There is nothing vegan about these. There is absolutely a cat being harmed!' I’m cackling! You really should win something from Free People for this! @freepeople we found your next model," another person jokes.

"This is the kind of content the internet was made for, it’s just so good. However my thighs started getting chafed just watching this," someone laughs.

Surely these shorts were made for someone and they will look fabulous on whoever that person may be. But right now, there are a lot of confused, thoroughly tickled ladies on the internet who know they are not the target audience. If you're brave enough to give these micro shorts a try, go ahead and stock up on some baby powder for all the chaffing.


This article originally appeared on 3.22.24

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Image from YouTube video.

How to become the butt of a joke.


In case you were wondering, don't mess with comedian Steve Hofstetter. The stand-up comic posted a video of himself recently shutting down a heckler who didn't like Hofstetter taking a break from his routine to praise Jessica Mendoza, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and Stanford graduate, who last year became the first female to call a professional baseball game.

"Next!" the heckler shouts. At first, Hofstetter is caught off guard but then he tries to give the guy a chance to explain what he found "offensive" about celebrating this historic moment in sports. "You and I can talk later," the anonymous guy says, directly challenging an earlier warning from Hofstetter to not approach comedians after shows.


Once the guy refuses to explain why he's offended, Hofstetter asks him to leave, saying not only is he being a jerk but he's not at least willing to stand up for his own beliefs. Then things get weird. It turns out the heckler is at the show with his family, including his daughters. "You have daughters and I was standing up for women's rights and you were offended by that," Hofstetter says. "I hope the rest of you are going to be okay later."

Unlike some heckler videos that drag on and on, this one is maybe most amazing in the way he gets shut down before he can even really get started. The whole video is funny, inspiring and just a classic example of a comedian taking down a heckler. Like near the end, when Hofstetter addresses a common trope of someone questioning why a male comedian needs to stand up for women's equality.

"As it turns out, I actually have a genetic history of women in my family," he says. "If you want to be a real man then respect the women in your life."


This article originally appeared on 04.26.19

Family

Dad takes 7-week paternity leave after his second child is born and is stunned by the results

"These past seven weeks really opened up my eyes on how the household has actually ran, and 110% of that is because of my wife."

@ustheremingtons/TikTok

There's a lot to be gleaned from this.


Participating in paternity leave offers fathers so much more than an opportunity to bond with their new kids. It also allows them to help around the house and take on domestic responsibilities that many new mothers have to face alone…while also tending to a newborn.

All in all, it enables couples to handle the daunting new chapter as a team, making it less stressful on both parties. Or at least equally stressful on both parties. Democracy!

TikTok creator and dad Caleb Remington, from the popular account @ustheremingtons, confesses that for baby number one, he wasn’t able to take a “single day of paternity leave.”

This time around, for baby number two, Remington had the privilege of taking seven weeks off (to be clear—his employer offered four weeks, and he used an additional three weeks of PTO).

The time off changed Remington’s entire outlook on parenting, and his insights are something all parents could probably use.


“It's unfortunately the end of my maternity —ahem— paternity leave,” Remington quips at the beginning of his video, via voiceover. “I only joke because my wife is truly the man of the house. And call me what you want, but I am totally okay with that.”

He then shares that after getting to spend quality time with his family to create precious memories—losing track of time to “watch ants cross the sidewalk,” for instance—he feels “guilty” about not doing so with their firstborn.

“[It] made me realize how many of those small moments I missed out the first time, but I'm looking past that guilt and grateful that I had some time to make it up,” he says.

You’ll notice that during this entire video, Remington is also doing chores. Sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, washing dishes, wiping the countertops…you get the picture.

@ustheremingtons I (caleb) am getting ready to go back into work and i am not ready. Grateful for my four weeks plus 3 weeks of PTO, but i feel like we were just getting into a groove and i was finally getting to have some 1 on 1 time with my son. Picking up the house today because we all function better with a clean space and we haven’t had time to do much of it while surviving these past 7 weeks. I do work from home and find that I have a little more flexibility in helping out here and there but i am also pretty glued and have to be zoned in during work hours. I do however have some pretty awesome and understanding coworkers and company!Shout out to @SAMBAZON Açaí 👊 Tiff is an all star: working and stay at home mom. I am dedicated in doing better to help balance more of the domestic responsibilities. #paternityleave #dadtok #dadsover30 #dadlife #fyp #foryoupage #ditl #ditlvlog #maternityleave #newbornlife #newbornbaby #secondbaby #2under2 #toddlerlife ♬ original sound - Tiffany + Caleb

Why is he doing this? His wife, aka “the lady with the milk bags,” has been so stressed with the house being messy that Remington decided to focus on doing all the housecleaning so that she could spend time with the kids.

Doing a fair share of the domestic labor is something Remington admits to failing at their first time around. Spending seven weeks taking on more responsibilities, however, opened his eyes to the fact that what he previously saw as doing his “fair share” was actually doing “the bare minimum.”

“It has taken multiple conversations — and many ongoing ones — to truly master how to take on more of the mental load of raising children, growing our marriage and taking care of our investments like our home.”

Proof that having difficult conversations can lead to better understanding!

Lastly, Remington reflects on how the emotional turbulence of being new parents challenged his relationship, even though he and his wife were good communicators and aware of how much effort would be required.

“I honestly hated how much we fought, how much I felt misunderstood, and how much I misunderstood her…so now as second-time parents, I feel like we're a little bit more prepared. Prepared in how we talk to each other, prepared in how I balance work, life, and personal life, and prepared to just let things go,” he says.

Definitely valuable insights for anyone navigating baby number one. Or number five, for that matter.

Remington’s story stands as a great example of just how beneficial paternity leave can be. It offers priceless bonding time, an equal balance of responsibilities, and more time for much needed reflection as parents begin a pivotal new chapter in their lives.


This article originally appeared on 9.7.23

Gordon Ramsay at play... work.


Gordon Ramsay is not exactly known for being nice.

Or patient.

Or nurturing.

On his competition show "Hell's Kitchen," he belittles cooks who can't keep up. If people come to him with their problems, he berates them. If someone is struggling to get something right in the kitchen, he curses them out.



His whole TV persona is based on being the world's worst boss.

Ramsay went on Reddit and allowed users to ask him any question they wanted.

So when a fellow cook asked him a sincere, deeply personal question about what to do when you've hit a roadblock in your career, you could probably guess what was coming.

economics, inspiration, mentorship

How do you deal with it Ramsay?

Indeed, I thought the guy was making a terrible mistake pouring his heart out to a chef as notoriously tough as Ramsay:

"My hopes and dreams are nowhere to be found as I scale and portion salmon after salmon, shelling pods after pods of broad beans.
...
Sometimes I look out the tiny window and I can see people walking around the streets, enjoying the sunlight, while I'm here, questioning my dedication to this art as I rotate stock in the cool room, getting frost bitten, but the fear of the chef stops me from stepping outside to warm up.
...
The closest thing to feeling any kind of joy I get is those rare moments when I walk through the dining room near the end of service to get some coffee for everyone, and there will be a few diners left, idly sampling those little petite fours that we've painstakingly ensured are all perfectly round, identical, and just plain delicious. Then, one of them will stop the conversation they're having with their company, look up from their food and say, 'Thank you, chef. This is delicious,' and making the previous 14-hours of sweat and tears kind of worthwhile.

My question is, how did you deal with it? How the fuck did you deal with all the bullshit, Gordon?”

But the way Ramsay responded? Totally amazing. And completely unexpected.

uplifting, chef, labor laws

That’s an amazing question.

assets.rebelmouse.io

Turns out, real-life Gordon Ramsay? He actually can be a really kind, big-hearted dude.

He's sympathetic to the guy. Not just because he's a good person. But because he's been there.

Working in restaurants is a tough, tough business. As of 2012, the average salary for cooks was less than $23,000/year. And those who are just starting out often have to work unglamorous, tedious jobs that no one else wants to do. Ramsay didn't have fancy culinary school training. He rose up through the ranks putting in long hours for low pay in kitchens all over the world. That's why he gets it.

Which brings up another point.

Diet Dieting GIF by Bobbi DeCarlo - Find & Share on GIPHY

diners, food, job security, restaurants

(Does this salad dressing have black pepper in it?? No tip for you!)

Diet Dieting GIF by Bobbi DeCarlo - from GIPHY.

When we go out to eat, we, as a culture, tend to behave ... how should I put this?

Let's go with "not like perfect angels."

Of course, no one likes getting the wrong order. Or waiting a really long time for a meal. Or eating something that doesn't taste the way you expect it to.

But it's important to remember that the people behind the food, like Ramsay's anonymous letter-writer, might be working 14-hour days. Or might be a recent immigrant who speaks limited English, trying to support a family thousands of miles away. And possibly making very little money. And sure, they screw up sometimes. But we all screw up at our jobs sometimes.

Because they, like the rest of us, are human beings.

Which is why saying...

"Thank you, chef. This is delicious."

Could mean everything to someone.


This article originally appeared on 04.22.15

Joy

There are over 30 years between these amazing before-and-after photos.

"It's important for me for my photography to make people smile."

All photos by Chris Porsz/REX/Shutterstock.

Before and after photos separated by 30 years.




Chris Porsz was tired of studying sociology.

As a university student in the 1970s, he found the talk of economics and statistics completely mind-numbing. So instead, he says, he roamed the streets of his hometown of Peterborough, England, with a camera in hand, snapping pictures of the people he met and listening to their stories. To him, it was a far better way to understand the world.

He always looked for the most eccentric people he could find, anyone who stood out from the crowd. Sometimes he'd snap a single picture of that person and walk away. Other times he'd have lengthy conversations with these strangers.


But eventually, life moved on and so did he. He fell out of love with photography. "Those pictures collected dust for 25 years," he says.

Then, a few years ago, Porsz found those 30- to 40-year-old photos and sent them to be printed in his local newspaper.

Peterborough, reunions, Chris Porsz

Chris Porsz and his camera.

All photos by Chris Porsz/REX/Shutterstock.

And remarkably, people started recognizing much younger versions of themselves in his shots. "There was this lightbulb moment," he says of the first time someone wrote to him about one of his photos.

Eventually, he became curious about the people he'd photographed all those years ago, and he decided he'd try to find some of them. It wouldn't be easy — the photos were taken a long time ago, and Porsz didn't have names or contact information for many of the people in them.

But he did find some of them, sometimes in extraordinary ways. "Some were absolute million-to-one coincidences," he says.

Like the time he went out on a call (he's a parademic these days) at 3 a.m., and the man he was there to treat recognized him as the photographer who'd snapped his picture all those years ago. On another call, he asked a local shopkeeper if he recognized any of the subjects in the photos. He did.

Once Porsz began posting about the project online — he calls it "Reunions" — it became easier and easier to reconnect with his former subjects.

Many were eager to recreate the old shots as best they could, like Layla Gordon, who Porsz originally photographed drinking milk in 1983.

time, memories, photos

The child version drinking milk.

All photos by Chris Porsz/REX/Shutterstock.

milk, history, project

The adult enjoys milk too.

All photos by Chris Porsz/REX/Shutterstock.

Others groups, like these schoolgirls, had fallen out of touch. "Reunions," fittingly enough, brought them back together.

schoolgirls, pose, soul mate

Schoolgirls pose for a photo.

All photos by Chris Porsz/REX/Shutterstock.

best friends, intimate, confidant

The adult versions find time for a group photo.

All photos by Chris Porsz/REX/Shutterstock.

Porsz says that his subjects, like this wild-haired couple, were strangers to him 30 years ago. Now he considers many of them friends.

punk rock, narrative, archive

Pink colored hair and mohawks.

All photos by Chris Porsz/REX/Shutterstock.

record, story, account

The color has moved to the sleeves.

All photos by Chris Porsz/REX/Shutterstock.

In all, Porsz has collected over 130 before-and-afters in his new book.

The response to Porsz's work has been more than he ever imagined.

He's personally heard from people all over the world who've been inspired by his project and want to try to recreate it themselves. But beyond that, he just hopes it brings a little warmth and happiness to the people who see it.

"It's important for me for my photography to make people smile," he says. "Because there is so much sadness in the world."

And while the project is finished for now, don't count out the possibility of "Reunions Part 2" somewhere down the line.

"I'd love to meet these guys in 2046 when I'm 94 years old," Porsz says.


This article originally appeared on 11.30.16