Boy Writes Extraordinary Poem About Life With Autism, Stuns Readers

(Facebook/Benjamin Giroux)

It’s rare that a 10-year-old can write a decent poem, much less a poem that could be published. However, some children quickly come to realize that it’s easier to express themselves with art and writing rather than speaking, and when they do, magic can happen.

In this specific case, 10-year-old Benjamin Giroux was tasked to write a poem about himself, specifically, utilizing the phrase, “I am.”

The result was a raw and touching poem about life with autism which understandably went viral as it affected thousands of readers worldwide.

(Facebook/Benjamin Giroux)

The poem reads:

I am odd, I am new, I wonder if you are too

I hear voices in the air

I see you don’t, and that’s not fair

I want to not feel blue

I am odd, I am new

I pretend that you are too

I feel like a boy in outer space

I touch the stars and feel out of place

I worry what others might think

I cry when people laugh, it makes me shrink

I am odd, I am new

I understand now that so are you

I say I, “feel like a castaway”

I dream of a day that that’s okay

I try to fit in

I hope that someday I do

I am odd, I am new.

Living with autism, it’s difficult to understand and share one’s feelings, so when Benjamin’s parents read his assignment, they were overcome with emotions themselves.

“As the poem went on,” Benjamin’s dad, Sonny, told Today.com, “we realized that he understands that he’s odd and that so is everyone else in their own way, which is what Ben wants everyone to embrace.”

Benjamin was scheduled to read his poem in front of the class the following day, but fell victim to anxiety that morning and stayed home. He was convinced his work wasn’t good enough.

Wanting to prove to his son how impressive his words truly were, Sonny posted the poem to Facebook. He assumed some encouraging words from friends and family would brighten Benjamin’s spirits, but he had no idea how far the poem would go.

(Facebook/Benjamin Giroux)

It was shared over and over again, eventually catching the attention of the National Autism Association who posted it to their page. Thousands of people began commenting, voicing their support and sharing how inspirational it is. The post has since been shared nearly 40,000 times, even developing its own hashtag, #oddtoo.

“We try to read him as many comments as we can to show the impact he’s had,” Sonny shared. “It makes him happy, too, which is always nice to see.”

Hundreds of parents shared how much the piece helped them realize the obstacles facing their own kids at school.

“Ben’s goal was to have people understand that being odd is different, and different is amazing, and people shouldn’t be afraid of who they are,” Giroux said. “And that makes me one proud father!”

Father Figures: Proved Everyone Wrong

“In 2011, my husband he suffered a traumatic brain injury from a fall from a bicycle.

At first I was told he might not survive, then I was told he might be a vegetable the rest of his life, then we were told that he probably wouldn’t return to the career he loves. He was in a coma for 11 days, a rehab hospital for 14 days, and went through months and months of outpatient therapy.

And then he defied all of those predictions.

Through hard work he returned to his career and he found a love of running. This man who proved everyone wrong now competes in Spartan obstacle course races with our oldest daughter.

I am so proud that he found the strength to return to us.”

– Sharon Cullen

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.

Charleston School’s ‘Gentlemen’s Club’ Teaches Boys Important Lessons

Charleston School’s ‘Gentleman’s Club’ Teaches Boys Important Lessons
(Youtube/truly)

It’s no secret that kids are information sponges. They spend every waking moment exploring, experimenting and learning about the world around them, as well as their role in it. Kids learn an enormous amount from their parents and role models at home – they learn how to behave, how to interact with other people, how to cope with stress and so many other aspects of everyday life. For some kids, however, tough home lives mean that they may not have the guidance they need to effectively navigate this complex world. Raymond Nelson, the student support specialist at Memminger Elementary in Downtown Charleston, South Carolina realized that several of his students didn’t have male role models at home. So, he decided, he could be the one to help guide them towards being the best versions of themselves.

Nelson works with many at-risk children, and keeping them on the right path is both an important part of his job and important to him personally. Nelson started a Gentlemen’s Club at his school to instill young boys with a sense of confidence, and, well – to help them act like little gentlemen. Every Wednesday, 60 of Nelson’s 5th graders show up at their elementary school dressed to the nines. Dozens of little tuxedos and suits can be spotted throughout the school, worn by these self-assured young men.

“I was thinking maybe if I have the boys dress for success,” Nelson told WCSC-TV. “When was the last time you saw someone fighting in a tuxedo?”

The Gentlemen’s Club’s motto, “Look good, feel good, do good,” helps instill in young boys just how valuable they are, and just how much their actions matter. The boys learn lessons like how to treat female peers (who, according to some of Nelson’s students, still have cooties), which helps them be more productive members of their school community.

When Nelson was a young boy, his mom encouraged him to join a similar type of club. To this day, Nelson sees the lasting impact those early lessons had on him. Nelson’s program has had such a deep impact on the behavior and self-confidence of his students, he and another man named Kenneth Joyner (a 5th-grade teacher at Nelson’s school) even started a nonprofit organization called “Boys With a Purpose”. The organization helps empower other young boys in the Charleston area to “Look good, feel good, do good” – which, to be honest, is a lifestyle we could all stand to embrace.

Interactive LEGO NES Console Set Coming In August?

NES Lego Console
(Lego/vjgamer)

When I was a kid and my older brother was about to leave for college, I sold his Nintendo system at a local tag sale. When he found out, he was very upset, because it was his and he wanted to take it to school with him, and also because I only got twenty bucks for it. I was unable to make it up to him at the time, but with some news that just came out, I might be able to soon!

A few months ago, we shared the news of LEGO‘S collaboration with Nintendo for an interactive LEGO Super Mario. Now there’s a full-fledged LEGO Nintendo set that will work with the Super Mario.

LEGO tweeted a video today, with a tantalizing tease.

The reaction to LEGO Super Mario has been incredible,” said Jonathan Bennink, Digital Design Lead on LEGO Super Mario, via ComicBook.com when the full product line was revealed. “Super Mario is such an icon – and fans have been highly anticipating the release of the full details of the product line. Our entire range – from the Starter Course to the Power-Up Packs, through to the Expansion Sets and Character Packs – have been built to bring Super Mario, his friends – and his enemies – to life. We love how creative Nintendo and LEGO fans are, and can’t wait for them to unleash their imaginations in how they interact with Super Mario in the real world.”

Pictures have been leaking of the LEGO set, which will retail for around $250 and include 2,646 pieces. Rumors say both the LEGO Super Mario and the LEGO Nintendo will be available on August 1st.

Just in time for my brother’s birthday!

Toddler Feeds Baby Cow

“The Empire Strikes Back,” Again, Becomes #1 Movie in America

empire strikes back is # 1
(Disney/Lucasfilm)

In a bizarre twist even the most devoted Star Wars fan couldn’t imagine, a Star Wars movie was #1 at the box office this weekend. That isn’t crazy. What is unusual is that it’s a Star Wars movie that was released nearly four decades ago, as “The Empire Strikes Back” was the #1 movie in America this week.

Obviously, this summer is a little unique compared to most, mainly in the fact that the movie industry (like numerous others!) has been completely and utterly wrecked by COVID-19 and shutdowns around the nation. One business that has seen a big jump in biz, however, is drive-in movie theaters.


With real movie theaters shut down, and with the need for social distancing, people have been acting like it’s the 1950s again and flocking to drive-in movie theaters. It’s one of the only widespread entertainment options available at the moment, and families are taking advantage of them.

Naturally, many of these theaters show classics, such as “The Empire Strikes Back”, “Ghostbusters” and “Jaws”, all of which have seen modest box office returns lately. Even with a final tally that’s literally a fraction of what a normal summer box office winner would bring in, and with the biggest COVID asterisk you can put next to it, it’s still the #1 movie in America. This is the third time for Empire after its original release and the re-release in the late 90s.

There have been nine Star Wars movies, and I think we can all agree, as reasonable people, that “The Empire Strikes Back” is far and away the best of them. So it’s cool to see it get another brief moment in the spotlight, even as the movie industry crumbles around it.

Man Paraglides While Sitting on the Sofa Watching TV

(YouTube/ Hasan Kaval)

Ingenuity has been off the charts in recent months. From Nintendo Switch TV frames to dinosaur jungle gyms, there’s never been a better time to roll up your sleeves, hunker down in the garage, and build something that until then had only existed in your imagination.

Meet Hasan Kaval from Izmir, Turkey, the da Vinci of our time.

(YouTube/ Hasan Kaval)

By now we’ve all surely grown bored with our couches. Hasan, however, has literally taken that lethargy to new heights by turning his sofa into a paraglider, complete with a footstool, lamp, and working TV.

Here you can see some fellas securing the bottom with a custom metal frame.

(9GAG/ Hasan Kaval)

Hasan paraglides professionally, working as a pilot and instructor. But lately, you can catch him sailing above the Fethiye district in Southwest Turkey on his cherry-red sofa chair, slippers on, a bag of chips and pop in hand, watching some Tom & Jerry.

To initiate flight he just sort of… has his buddies push him off a really high up ledge. It’s bananas. You can watch the couch-glider in action in this video from his YouTube channel.

So rad. Kind of a bummer that “couch surfing” is already a much lamer thing.

Fast and Furious 9 Could Be Going to Space

Fast and Furious 9
(Universal)

Fast and Furious 9 could be headed where no Fast movie has been before…outer space. One of the franchise’s stars tried to very coyly tease a major development for the next installment of Fast and Furious movies. Only, it wasn’t as secretive as he thought.

Here’s why the rumor mill is churning with F9 to space stories. Ludacris was doing an interview with SiriusXM when he said the COVID-shutdown in the movie’s filming has allowed the producers to up the ante even more for the highly anticipated blockbuster, allowing it to do something that hasn’t been done before.

The host said the only thing that hasn’t been done would be space, and that she can’t imagine what happens in the next movie.

Ludacris responded by noting she “just said something very important. I will say that you are very intuitive, cause you said something right, but I’m not going to give it away.”


She then yelled that she said space, and he covered his mouth. So…it’s definitely space. Definitely maybe. At least, it’s more fun to think the long-running franchise is yet again going to up the ante.

In the past, the writers haven’t shrugged off space entirely, saying they were open to anything as long as it was ‘cool.’ Which, as a motto, isn’t a bad way to go through life.

Most of the heavy hitters from past films are back, but the real question we all want to know, is Vin Diesel gonna fight John Cena in space?

And until we know 100 percent otherwise, the best answer to operate from is “absolutely.”

The Guys From Toto Perform Quarantine “Africa” From Their Homes

Toto Performs Quarantine Africa
(YouTube/Joseph Williams)

If there’s one song from the 80s that withstood the test of time, it’s “Africa” by Toto. Every so often, it reenters the public consciousness, be it by way of Scrubs episode, Weezer cover, or even buzzing Tesla coils. It’s a near-perfect song, and it’s never going anywhere.

In the spirit of this recent slew of virtual pop culture reunions, some of the guys from Toto got together to dust off their 1982 hit.

Returning for lead vocals you is Joseph Williams.

(YouTube/Joseph Williams)

On percussion, we’ve got Mr. DOO-DOO D-DOO D-DOO D-DOO DOO PSHHH himself, Lenny Castro.

(YouTube/Joseph Williams)

And on vertical phone orientation, we’ve got guitarist Steve Lukather.

(YouTube/Joseph Williams)

You know the words. You know the legendary drum fills. Now get ready to hear “Africa” as you’ve never heard it before: through the lens of a quarantine. Enjoy!

“I really hope you guys out there are safe and well,” says Steve on guitar. “God bless. Hang in there.”

Father Figures: Big Bad Dad

“I am the proud father of an 8-year-old daughter named Winnie.

For years, I was lost on a path toward self-destruction. I was involved in violence, drugs, and alcohol, and seemed destined to end up either dead or in jail.

I managed to forge a career and get married, but always had a monkey on my back. My behavior began to hurt everyone in my life as much as it was hurting me.

Then my daughter was born. The first day I held her, everything in my life changed.

For the first time, I had a direction. There was never an option to fail. My overwhelming love for her made me look myself in a mirror and resolve to become a better person for myself and for her. It took hard work, humility, and honesty for me to get to where I started to feel love for myself and face the demons that were in my closet.

Because of my daughter and the strength she gave me, I built an amazing life for us and have such an amazing relationship with her everyday. We even wrote and published a book together: Big Bad Dad.

These days, I am part of a nonprofit group dedicated to teaching men to show humility and emotion, and encouraging them to speak about their feelings and ask for help.

My daughter completely shifted the way I think about life and the way I live as a man and I am so grateful to her every single day.”

– Ryan Bourquin

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.