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Video of Santa questioning 'naughty or nice' labels is a moving statement on mental health

Most depictions of Santa Clause fall along the traditional narrative we know and love. We see the rotund, bearded fellow making a list and checking it twice. With a twinkle in his eye, we expect him to ponder each child's behavior for the year and place them into a category—naughty or nice—to determine their deservedness in getting a gift.


Though there's obviously no jolly, omniscient figure putting children into binary categories, there are plenty of adults who do just that. If a kid doesn't conform to a specific standard of behavior, they're "naughty." If they say the right words, do the right things, and don't cause any trouble, they're "nice." Children are categorized and labeled—some good, some bad—and those labels often follow them throughout their lives.

But such a simplistic view doesn't square with what we actually know about children and behavior. Kids—and all humans, really—are not that cut and dry. People of all ages are complex, nuanced, and multi-faceted, and motivations for people's behavior rarely fall neatly into "naughty" or "nice." There's a whole range of reasons why people do the things they do.

RELATED: A huge thanks to those who openly share their mental illnesses. You saved my daughter.

That's the premise behind a new video released by NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. In it, we see Santa sitting on a rooftop, contemplating the categories he's used for 1000 years, in a surprisingly moving soliloquy about labels and children.

"I think I did this all wrong," he begins, before pondering how his habit of "reducing these growing, varied, intricate beings to some binary code of this or that, naughty or nice" might actually be doing them harm. "As if some kids son't have enough to worry about, only to have me judge them without context, without perspective, without any sort of doctorate psychology—honorary or otherwise."

"Did I condemn every kid who already felt like a misfit toy?" he asks. "Naughty or nice? Isn't it possible that they're nervous or nice? Uncomfortable-in-their-own-skin or nice? I'm-angry-and-I-don't-know-why or nice? My-impulses-are-beyond-my-control or nice? Hurting or nice?"

"And who can blame them?" he ponders. "With the news, the lockdown drills, the internet, the world is bearing down on them. And we expect these struggling kids to just...what? Speak when spoken to?"

"Show me an interesting, fully formed person and I'll show you a once difficult child," Santa continues, asking what would happen if we looked at kids in a whole different light.

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

It's not your typical Santa video, but it certainly has a magic of its own. To see children as layered beings instead of good or bad, naughty or nice, is perhaps the best gift we can give them.

Watch a contemplative Ol' St. Nick share his thoughts on the "naughty" or "nice" question, and prepare to have your feelings meter moved a few notches.

NAMI - “Naughty Or…"www.youtube.com

Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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Joy

Tea time: how this boutique blends cultures from around the world

Ethically sourced, modern clothes for kids that embrace adventure, inspire connections and global thinking.

The Tea Collection combines philanthropic efforts with a deep rooted sense of multiculturalism into each of their designs so that kids can grow up with global sensibilities. They make clothes built to last with practicality and adventure in mind. But why "Tea"?

Let's spill it. Tea is a drink shared around the world with people from all different cultures. It is a common thread that weaves the world together. The Tea Collection was born from a love of travel and a love of sharing tea with different people in different places. Inspired by patterns from around the world, these clothes help children develop a familiarity with global communities.

Tea sources their materials ethically and ensures that each of their partners abide to strict codes of conduct. They have a zero-tolerance policy for anything "even slightly questionable" and make sure that they regularly visit their manufacturing partners to ensure that they're supporting positive working conditions.

Since 2003, The Tea Collection has partnered with the Global Fund for Children and has invested in different grassroots organizations that create community empowered programs to uplift kids in need. They donate 10% of their proceeds and have already contributed over $500,000 to different organizations such as: The Homeless Prenatal Program (San Francisco, CA, USA), Door of Faith Orphanage (Baja California, Mexico), Little Sisters Fund (Nepal) and others in Peru, Sri Lanka, India, Italy and Haiti.

But the best part about the Tea Collection? They're also an official member of the Kidizen Rewear Collective, which believes that clothes should stretch far beyond one child's use. They have their own external site for their preloved clothes that makes rewearing affordable. Families can trade in gently used Tea clothes and receive discounts for future products. Shopping the site helps keep clothes out of land fills and reduces the environmental impact of the fashion industry.

By creating heirloom style clothing made to last families can buy, sell, and trade clothes that can be reworn again and again. Because "new to you" doesn't always have to mean never been worn. And let's be honest, we all know how fast kids grow! Shopping preloved clothes is a great way to keep styles fresh without harming the environment or feeling guilty about not getting the most out of certain styles.

But don't just take our word for it! Head over to the Tea Collection and see for yourself!

Upworthy has earned revenue through a partnership and/or may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through links on our site.

Education

Teacher of the year explains why he's leaving district in unforgettable 3-minute speech

"I'm leaving in hopes that I can regain the ability to do the job that I love."

Lee Allen

For all of our disagreements in modern American life, there are at least a few things most of us can agree on. One of those is the need for reform in public education. We don't all agree on the solutions but many of the challenges are undeniable: retaining great teachers, reducing classroom size and updating the focus of student curriculums to reflect the ever-changing needs of a globalized workforce.

And while parents, politicians and activists debate those remedies, one voice is all-too-often ignored: that of teachers themselves.

This is why a short video testimony from a teacher in the Atlanta suburb of Gwinnett County went viral recently. After all, it's hard to deny the points made by someone who was just named teacher of the year and used the occasion to announce why he will be leaving the very school district that just honored him with that distinction.

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