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grandparents, loneliness, grandkids
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A grandfather and granddaughter holding hands.

Loneliness is one of the most dangerous health problems in the United States, although it’s seldom discussed. Psychology Today says loneliness has the same mortality risks as obesity, smoking, alcoholism and physical inactivity.

A meta-analysis from Brigham Young University found that social isolation may increase the risk of premature death by up to 50%. The problem with loneliness is that people suffer in silence and it afflicts the ones we don’t see.

A TikTok user who goes by the name Megan Elizabeth recently shared a touching story on social media about how her grandfather was feeling lonely so he reached out to her. The story shows what can happen when one person is brave enough to confront their social isolation and the important role grandkids can play in their grandparents’ lives.


It started when Megan's grandpa texted her to ask if she'd like to come over for a sleepover. “I haven’t been feeling well and miss you. We can order food and watch a mystery show. Love, grandpa,” he wrote.

Megan was happy to go see him, so grandpa made a series of requests to make the sleepover a hit.

“Could you pick up applesauce? The cinnamon kind,” he asked. “And if you go somewhere with mash potatoes, I would like that because I have no teeth and can only eat soft things. Ha!”

He also wanted some strawberry ice cream for dessert. “Thank you. You are my favorite granddaughter,” he ended the conversation. Megan later noted that she’s his only granddaughter.

Megan came by with a big bag of food and some ice cream and the two hung out and watched his favorite black-and-white “mystery movies.” When it was time for bed, grandpa hadn't forgotten how to put her to sleep. He got her a glass of water to put by the bed in case she got thirsty and left a flashlight on the nightstand just in case his 29-year-old granddaughter got scared.

The next morning, at 5:30 am, he watched her leave for work.

Grandfather and granddaughter grew up close to one another. Megan lived with her grandparents when she was young while her parents saved up money for a house. When they bought one, it was right across the street.

“I am so lucky to have grown up with my grandpa and my grandma (rest in peace),” she wrote on Instagram. “I feel so happy. I am thankful for my grandpa and he will never understand how much love he truly has shown me. And more importantly, the love he showed my grandma while she was alive. I believe in love and loyalty because of this man. He is my hero,” she added.

Megan's time with her grandfather made her realize a valuable lesson about her life.

"I think one of the most important realizations I have had recently is that it’s important to live in the moment but it is important to live in the now with intent," she wrote on Instagram, "so that when you are 92, you look back and smile at all the people you loved, the memories you made and the life you chose to live."


Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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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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