+
upworthy
Family

7-year-old's sweet LEGO gesture for his military dad turns into beautiful viral moment

7-year-old's sweet LEGO gesture for his military dad turns into beautiful viral moment
via Travis Akers / Twitter

A tweet thread by Travis Akers, a Navy Lieutenant with 17 years of service, is going viral because it shows just how sweet children can be and also points to an overlooked issue facing military families.

In the early morning of April 12, Akers tweeted a photo of himself and his seven-year-old son Tanner who he affectionately calls "Munchie." Akers was moved because his son set his alarm clock so he could get up early enough to hand him a pocket full of Legos before work.

Tanner wanted to be sure his father had something to play with at the Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Florida. "This was my daily morning trip to base, departing my house at six am for work," Akers told Upworthy.



Akers followed up the tweet with a photo of his son from seven years ago showing just how quickly they grow. "This picture just popped up in my Facebook memories - It's him seven years ago today," he wrote. "Don't blink."

via Travis Akers / Twitter

Akers made a ship out of the Legos his son gave him and it looks a lot like the vessel behind him, right? Akers told Upworthy that he named his new Lego ship the USS Munchie, after his son. he plans on keeping it on his desk at work.

via Travis Aklers / Twitter

The Lieutenant sent a photo to his wife for Tanner to see. Akers' wife said the photo of the Lego ship put a "very big smile" on the child's face and he was "surprised" he actually kept it on his desk.

The sweet gesture by brought a lot of joy to people on Twitter.

However, Tanner's gesture was about more than just keeping his dad happy at work. Akers is preparing to depart for a one-year deployment in a month. "The reality is beginning to set in with him, so he has been wanting to spend a lot of extra time with me and has become very emotional and sentimental over the previous few weeks," Akers said.

A study by Clinical Neuroscience on the impact that military deployment has on children says they often have problems with "sleeping, higher stress levels, and anxiety, declining grades, an increase in maladaptive child behaviors."

Even though time away from the family is hard, Akers has some advice for families to make it easier for them to be apart.

"Technology has done so much for families who are separated during deployments and missions, especially with Facetime and Skype. I recommend parents try to call or Facetime with their children once a day if able," he said.

"Also, do things that are special for your kids, such as recording videos of you reading their favorite books or singing their favorite songs. Write them actual letters, not just emails. The power of a real letter in the mail is astronomical," Akers continued.

The Lieutenant hopes that his new Lego ship will help his son feel better about him being away.

"Something I will be doing on my upcoming deployment is taking the USS Munchie with me and sending him photos of it in various locations from where I will be deployed. Parents can do something similar with a stuffed animal or special toy," Akers said.

Tanner's beautiful gesture comes at a time when the Department of Defense is highlighting the sacrifices made by the children of those who serve our country. April is the Month of the Military Child.

"While people are quick to thank members of the military for their service, we often forget the sacrifices that families make, especially our children," Akers said. "Remember them this month and what they are giving up so that their mom or dad can carry out the duties of protecting our country."

DoDEA Month of the Military Child - April 2021www.youtube.com

Family

Younger generations are torn over inheriting boomer heirlooms. Here are 4 helpful tips.

The generational divide on this front is a big one, but there are better and worse ways to navigate it.

There are kind and gentle ways to handle hand-me-downs.


As the baby boomer generation reaches their "golden years," many of them are starting to think about what to do with their earthly possessions, much to the chagrin of some of their Gen X, millennial and Gen Z descendants.

How many of us really want to take over our grandma's collection of dolls or plates when we have no interest in collecting ourselves? How many people have homes filled with furniture we actually like, only to be offered antiques and heirlooms that we have neither the desire nor room for? What about china sets, artwork and other things our elders have loved that they want to see passed down in the family that no one in the family really wants?

Keep ReadingShow less
via WileeFam/TikTok (used with permission)

Cathy gets a "pupdate" from Embark.

A dog owner in New York City named Cathy had a touching reaction after learning that her rescue dog, Wilee, has a brother who looks just like him. Four years ago, she got Wilee's DNA tested through Embark because he’s a unique-looking rescue and wanted to know his specific mix.

“He is a mix of chow chow, Pomeranian, American Staffordshire terrier and many more,” Cathy told Upworthy. “He is a super mutt!”

A few months later, Embark began sending her profiles of dogs they found to be Wilee’s family members. Since then, Cathy has learned that he has two sisters and a brother, Nic. What’s incredible about the siblings is that the girls are solid-colored, but Nic is the spitting image of Wilee.

Keep ReadingShow less

A map of the United States post land-ice melt.


Land ice: We got a lot of it.

Considering the two largest ice sheets on earth — the one on Antarctica and the one on Greenland — extend more than 6 million square miles combined ... yeah, we're talkin' a lot of ice.

But what if it was all just ... gone? Not like gone gone, but melted?

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

8 comics that perfectly capture society's ridiculous expectations for women

"We are just humans, multifaceted and fascinating, divided by judgement, discrimination, and double standards."

@lainey.molnar/Instagram

"We are just humans, multifaceted and fascinating."

It’s one thing to talk about the unfair and unrealistic societal expectations that are still put on women. But it’s another thing to see exactly what those double standards look like in real life.

And, that, in essence, is often what artist Lainey Molnar’s work is all about.

On her popular Instagram account, Molnar has tackled all kinds of topics around womanhood and feminism—everything from the unsettling differences between men and women’s safety items that appear on a Google search to generational toxic relationships with food—using strikingly candid comic illustrations, many of which have depict cartoon versions of herself.
Keep ReadingShow less
@racheleehiggins/TikTok

Want out of a relationship rut? The Three hour night might be the perfect solution.

Almost every long term relationship suffers from a rut eventually. That goes especially for married partners who become parents and have the added responsibility of raising kids. Maintaining a connection is hard enough in this busy, fast paced world. Top it off with making sure kids are awake, dressed, entertained, well fed, oh yeah, and alive…and you best believe all you have energy for at the end of the day is sitting on the couch barely making it through one episode on Netflix.

And yet, we know how important it is to maintain a connection with our spouses. Many of us just don’t know how to make that happen while juggling a million other things.

According to one mom, a “three-hour night” could be just the thing to tick off multiple boxes on the to-do list while rekindling romance at the same time. Talk about the ultimate marriage hack.

Keep ReadingShow less

Arnold Ford shares a birthday—and birthday joy—with one of his students.

When Arnold Ford went to work on his birthday in February of 2024, he knew he was in for a treat. One of his students, a girl named Cali, has the same birthday as he does, and Ford was ready.

As soon as he saw Cali come bounding down the hallway with her arms spread wide, the assistant principal tossed his backpack aside, swooped the girl up and spun her around in joyful celebration. Then the two raced down the hallway, arm in arm, so Cali could give him a balloon and a cupcake she had saved for him.

All of this was captured on the security cameras at west Philadelphia's Mastery Charter School, Mann Elementary, and the footage has people cheering for amazing educators.

Keep ReadingShow less