New Zealand's Jacinda Ardern is the strong, compassionate leader the world needs right now.

Jacinda Ardern is writing the playbook for stellar leadership following a mass murder in her country.

New Zealand's prime minister was unique in many ways before the Christchurch mosque shootings that killed 50 of her people. At 38 years old, Jacinda Ardern is one of the youngest heads of state in the world, and one of just two world leaders who have given birth while in office. She is a Mormon-turned-agnostic who ran a "relentlessly optimistic" campaign—her own words—and who found out she was pregnant only a month after being elected Prime Minister in 2017.

Her meteoric rise to political power and popularity, dubbed "Jacindamania" by the media, put her under a pretty bright spotlight. She has solidly held her own in that space, even as she's challenged political norms. (How many world leaders do you see bringing their 3-month-old baby to the U.N. General Assembly??) But her response to the mosque killings has people the world over praising her strong, clear, and compassionate leadership.


Her first reaction to the killing of her Muslim countrymen was to don a hijab and acknowledge the needs of the victims' loved ones.

Ardern is not a Muslim, nor is she even religious. But in solidarity with the Muslim community, she put on a hijab and addressed the family and friends of the men, women, and children killed in the attack. Her first words: "As-Salaam-Alaikum," an Arabic phrase and common Muslim greeting which means "Peace be upon you."

She told the mourners that the government's first immediate concern was making sure that the religious considerations for the victims' burial were respected and followed to the best of their ability, and their second immediate concern was for the safety of the Muslim community. But the empathy with which she delivered these reassurances was notable. "You are us," she told them. "We feel grief, we feel injustice, we feel anger, and we share that with you."

Ardern and the New Zealand government also offered financial assistance to the families to help with burial expenses.

She vowed to take swift action on gun control to limit the ability for such shootings to occur.

In stark contrast to the American government's non-response to regularly occurring mass murders in the U.S., the New Zealand government moved toward tightening gun laws, including a proposal to ban military-style semiautomatic firearms, in the days immediately following the shooting.

"As a Cabinet, we were absolutely unified and very clear," Ardern said in a press conference. "The terror attack in Christchurch on Friday was the worst act of terrorism on our shores. It has exposed a range of weaknesses in New Zealand's gun laws. The clear lesson from history around the world is that, to make our community safer, the time to act is now."

She's refusing to give the killer the notoriety he seeks, saying, "You will never hear me mention his name."

Ardern gave a clear speech to the New Zealand parliament in which she refused to use the killer’s name and encouraged others to do the same.

"He sought many things from his act of terror," she said, "but one was notoriety. And that is why you will never hear me mention his name. He is a terrorist, he is a criminal, he is an extremist, but he will, when I speak, be nameless. And to others, I implore you, speak the names of those who were lost rather than the name of the men who took them. He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing, not even his name."

“He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing...not even his name.”

"He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist. But he will, when I speak, be nameless."New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she will never use the name of the suspect of the terror attack that killed 50 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch last week.

Posted by Channel 4 News on Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Her strong, decisive action and clear, heartfelt compassion in the wake of tragedy makes her an example for other world leaders to follow.

It's not an easy task to lead a shaken nation. But Ardern's response to the Christchurch shootings has given other leaders facing such atrocities a playbook to follow, as her unwavering leadership perfectly blends condemnation and kindness, solidarity and sensitivity, a strong stance and a soft heart.

Her focus on the victims first, while also taking political action to support the victims' families and seek ways to prevent such a tragedy from occurring again is impressive. Her willingness to step into the Muslim community and listen to their needs is inspiring. And her ability to rally support for meaningful change in the immediate aftermath of an attack, while also providing assistance and hope to those in mourning is exemplary.

Take note, people in power everywhere. This is what true leadership looks like.

Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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