They wanted to be perfect parents. Their sons helped them realize there's no such thing.
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Kraft Family Greatly

When Tremaine Maebry and Roland Locher decided to adopt, they tried to be as prepared as possible.

They read all the articles they could find on what to expect when adopting kids, took parenting classes, and Tremaine even reached out to writers of blogs like "Gays with Kids" to ask more questions.

So when they finally got their two sons, Jason and Jaelon, aged 7 and 9 respectively, the new dads felt truly ready to ace parenting.


However, they quickly learned that's pretty much impossible. There's no way to be fully prepared for all that comes with having kids.

"Nothing prepares you for the 'emotional component' of being a parent," writes Tremaine in an email. For example, he felt this instant, intrinsic need to protect them from the world's dangers.

Jason and Jaelon Maebry-Locher. All photos courtesy of Tremaine Maebry.

Tremaine was most concerned for his kids' well-being in a large, unpredictable city like Chicago.

In the beginning, he worried a lot about how two biracial (black/Hispanic) boys originally from rural Texas would handle such a lifestyle shift.

"Images and stories on TV of black and brown men and women being shot by police plagued me," explains Tremaine. "So my goal was to get them to respect and understand authority."

That was often easier said than done, considering that these boys were still learning what that means in the Maebry-Locher household.

So Tremaine assumed the role of disciplinarian — he's the one who sets and enforces the rules of their household. However, he always makes sure to talk them explicitly about why he's laying down the law when he does.

"Roland is the fun dad and I’m the mean one," writes Tremaine. "But I like that we have this balance."

That said, they're trying to be flexible with their parenting roles as the boys grow up.

But as any parent will tell you, it's not an exact science; all you can do is learn as you go.

Roland, Jason, and Jaelon on vacation in Costa Rica.

There may be some speed bumps along the way, but they're realizing having a family means approaching those issues together.

"We established an open dialog which encourages them to have an honest and open discussion of all things," explains Roland. "Though we may not like some of the things that we hear, if they come to us with anything, we will love them unconditionally. The important thing is to talk about things and take responsibility."

Sometimes the boys want to talk about their birth parents, and Tremaine and Roland always give them the space to do so. It can be hard, especially when they seem to want to ask why their parents left them, but Tremaine's trying to change their perspective.

"I might say, 'Your mommy loved you so much and wanted you to have a better life, one that she could not give you herself.'"

While it's occasionally about dealing with difficult things, family time is most often about sharing space, new experiences, and — above all — learning from each other.

The Maebry-Locher family ice skating.

That's why they have their nightly dinnertime ritual, which is "when we all check in on each other and find out what happened, what's going to happen, and what needs to happen," says Roland. "It's full of funny moments, teachable moments, emotional moments, and ebates."

And since the boys love to be active, they go on a lot of outdoor adventures.

They've also taken a lot of trips to visit family.

"Family is really important to us, and we want the boys to know all of their new extended family and be comfortable with them," writes Roland.

It was on one of those trips that Roland realized how attached their kids had grown to them. The boys were going off to spend time with his sister in Puerto Rico, and they were legitimately upset to leave their dads. It was both gut-wrenching and love-affirming all at the same time — ironically how many describe parenting in a nutshell.

Sometimes getting through the harder, complicated moments are the best reminders that you're doing all right as a parent.

The Maebry-Locher family knows they're not perfect, but Tremaine and Roland wouldn't want it any other way.

What's more, they want their kids to see their parents' flaws so that they know it's more than OK to have them and that working through them makes you stronger in the end.

"I don’t want my kids to see me as perfect," writes Tremaine. "I want them to see me as I am. I am a flawed human being. I will make mistakes. What I want my kids to see and notice is how I realistically deal with my mistakes."

Parenting, just like life, is a process, and each day comes with new challenges. These dads may not always get it right, but if they work together along the way, there's nothing they can't overcome.

Learn more about parents making their families great in their own, unique ways here:

#FamilyGreatly

Myth: There’s one perfect way to family. Truth: There’s a billion ways to family greatly. Share with the people you think #FamilyGreatly”

Posted by GOOD on Thursday, December 14, 2017
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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

In the hours before he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, then-President-elect Biden was sent a letter signed by 17 freshmen GOP members of the House of Representatives.

In sharp contrast to the 121 Republican House members who voted against the certification of Biden's electoral votes—a constitutional procedure merely check-marking the state certifications that had already taken place—this letter expresses a desire to "rise above the partisan fray" and work together with Biden as he takes over the presidency.

The letter reads:

Dear President-elect Biden,

Congratulations on the beginning of your administration and presidency. As members of this freshman class, we trust that the next four years will present your administration and the 117thCongress with numerous challenges and successes, and we are hopeful that – despite our ideological differences – we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve.

After two impeachments, lengthy inter-branch investigations, and, most recently, the horrific attack on our nation's capital, it is clear that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans does not serve a single American.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.