“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
Every third Monday of January we recognize the impact and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We honor the man and his work by taking “a day on, not a day off” to learn more about the struggle for equality, and find opportunities to better our own communities in his spirit.
For a lot of kids growing up now, the history Dr. King lived and changed can feel like another era altogether, rather than a mere 53 years. According to Tanara Burke, the former associate director of the National Voting Rights Museum in Selma, AL, and the director of Just BE, Inc., “Dr. King is almost a fictional historical character to many young people…They don’t get that they are (in many cases) one generation away from him and that they are directly affected by some of the gains he and others like him fought to achieve.”
To help kids fully understand Dr. King and the world he inhabited, Scholastic has recommended a series of books for all age-groups which can help your family keep history relevant.
This series of books for grades 2-4 is a fun way to introduce children to different eras. With an engaging question-and-answer format, and full-color art children can learn what it was like to participate in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, stage a sit-in at a lunch counter, join the famous March on Washington, and more.
The award-winning Pinkney duo celebrates Dr. King’s nonviolent struggle for civil rights –– as he transforms America through the spirit of love. This poetic and beautifully illustrated book for grades 4-7 conveys the final months of Martin Luther King’s life –– and of his assassination –– through metaphor, spirituality, and multilayers of meaning.
Learning about the tragedy and horror of Dr. King’s death can be as important as learning about the ideals he devoted his life to. For older kids in grades 7-12, bestselling author James L. Swanson gives an astonishing account of one of the saddest moments in American History. It can be tricky for parents to navigate questions about Dr. King’s murder, but it is necessary for all of us to remember how his quest for peace ended in a shocking moment of violence. Swanson’s book can help contextualize the event to teach kids how far we’ve come, and how far we have yet to go.
Along with educating our kids about history, today is an opportunity to bond with our kids on the only federal holiday recognized as a day of service. Of course, during a pandemic, serving the community can be difficult, but there are ways you can participate from home. Even attending a virtual event or talk can be the start of meaningful conversations with your kids to inspire them. The National Museum of African American History & Culture has moved their annual celebration “A People’s Holiday” online, and The King Center, Coretta Scott King’s nonprofit memorial will also be holding online events today.
For a more engaging activity, consider supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities. HBCUs arose in the 60s as a response to education inequality, and award a large portion of bachelor’s degrees held by Black students. Advocating for these spaces honors the work done by Dr. King and encourages future heroes to find their footing. The best way to support them is by calling a local representative and advocating for continued federal spending.
However you choose to remember Dr. King with your family today and throughout 2021, you are choosing to honor history, courage, and an unrelenting pursuit of justice.
“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
-Dr. Martin Luthor King Jr.
“After a lengthy bout with addiction, I got sober in 2011.
After a few years figuring out who I wanted to be, I met my wife in 2014. She had a child who was 6 years old at the time and had never had a stable father figure in his life. He looked different than me and we had different interests.
After about a year, he met my best friend, whom I refer to as a brother and is African-American. I asked him if he saw the resemblance between my brother and I and he replied, ‘No, your brother has a beard.’
He doesn’t see color and teaches me something new everyday.
Being a father to this boy has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. All children require love – and video games. His mother and I are now expecting and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Being a dad is a spiritual experience for me.”
– Mike Lloyd
Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]
A lot can happen in five years. You can go from childless to a father of six, earn a degree, you can live through what feels like half of 2020. Everything can change in half a decade, which makes Kendra Armstrong’s story that much more incredible.
Five years ago, Armstrong’s beloved cat Moose went missing. As time went on, it became less and less likely that her furry family member would return home, but she didn’t lose hope. In early 2021, Armstrong was scrolling through her local animal shelter’s website when a familiar face made her stop dead in her tracks.
Among the cats and kittens of all shapes and sizes was an unmistakable face she hadn’t seen in half a decade. In a state of shock, Armstrong called the Midcoast Humane Society, in all likelihood, assuming it was an uncanny look-alike.
When the staff explained that “Oldest” had been in and out of the shelter for the last five years, Armstrong was in disbelief. Moose (aka Oldest) was alive, safe, and incredibly, nearby.
The shelter posted the heartwarming story on Instagram, thrilled that their favorite senior cat was exactly where he belonged. The caption explained, “It turns out that ‘Oldest’ is really named Moose, and he had been living in a loving home until he got out one day in 2015. His person searched and searched for him, but couldn’t find him.”
The post continued, “She couldn’t believe it when she recognized his picture on the Adoption Page of our website FIVE YEARS later. She contacted us right away and sure enough, Oldest was Moose! Last Friday – the first day of 2021 – he was able to finally go home with his person, who was ecstatic to be reunited with her beloved cat.”
According to Armstrong, Moose could not be happier. “Moose (oldest) knows he’s finally home and he does NOT want me to leave his sight (I don’t blame him at all because I feel the same way) I am so grateful to have him home with me.”
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Imagine one day looking at the world and seeing something completely new. The trails you’ve walked a thousand times before are now filled with colors you’ve never seen, even the clothes you’re wearing are brighter and more vibrant than they’ve ever been. Most of us will never get to experience the world with new eyes, but 22-year-old Mac got to do exactly that – and unsurprisingly, his reaction warmed hearts around the world.
Mac is colorblind, and although he can see clearly enough, he sees color differently than most of us. “Colors such as reds and greens to me were sometimes hard to distinguish,” Mac told The Dad, “But since I’ve had to live with this for my 22 years of living I’ve learned to adapt and figure out which color is which even though I never saw them for what they really were.”
This year for Mac’s birthday, his friends decided to give him a gift that would quite literally change his world. He explained on Twitter, “The fact that I hardly ever mentioned my want for colorblind glasses and my friends literally went out of their way to get me a pair for my birthday just tells me how much they love my ass and I couldn’t have asked for better people to call my brothers!!!”
The fact that I hardly ever mentioned my want for colorblind glasses and my friends literally went out of their way to get me a pair for my birthday just tells me how much they love my ass and I couldn’t have asked for better people to call my brothers!!! pic.twitter.com/0BKOeftxYC
— Mac (@maciavelli_) January 4, 2021
In the heartwarming video, Mac tries out his gift for the first time. He puts on his colorblind glasses and slowly looks up, and immediately, he’s visibly awe-struck. He stares open-mouthed at the world in front of him – the trees, a bright red car, things he’s seen countless times before. But never like this. He whispers a quiet “whoa” as he processes what he’s seeing.
“There’s no way y’all see that shit,” Mac exclaims. “BRO, WHAT?!”
“The first time I truly saw what was surrounding me it was eye opening and breathtaking,” Mac recalls. “It’s like watching your favorite movie for the first time ever. You don’t know what to expect but once you see it it blows you away.”
In less than two weeks, Mac’s touching video accumulated over 180,000 likes and over 37,000 retweets. Mac’s genuine amazement, his appreciation of the world around him, and his contagious enthusiasm struck a chord with people around the world. Though his intention was simply to thank his friends and share how much the gift meant to him, Mac ended up sharing a moment that meant so much more to people he’d never even met.
“I woke up and my phone wouldn’t stop buzzing with likes, follows, and comments about how much they realize how they’ve taken the little things like seeing a bush for granted and how much joy I gave them by my reaction. It felt really good to make people’s day by just being my genuine self.”
Alba was just a few days old when she was put up for adoption by her parents because she has Down syndrome. Sadly, 20 other families passed on adopting her by the time she was only 13 days old. But her story got a happy ending when a single dad stepped in to adopt the adorable weeks-old infant.
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Luca Trapanese’s story went viral with the release of a book he wrote about his life with Alba, a story he says “destroys many stereotypes about fatherhood, religion and family.” Adoption laws in Italy are fairly strict, and rarely are single parents approved, but Alba’s condition warranted an amendment to the normal regulations. And Luca said he experienced no trepidation about the decision, driving to the hospital to fill out the paperwork the moment he was approved.
(UPDATE: We chatted with this hero dad to see how he and Alba are doing. Read more here.)
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Luca had a history of volunteering and working with children with disabilities, so he felt prepared to raise a child with Down syndrome. And he couldn’t wait to become a dad.
“When I held her in my arms, I was filled with joy,” he told the BBC. “I felt she was my daughter immediately. I knew I was ready to be her father.”
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Luca said Alba, now 1.5 years old, loves to play and meet new people. “I will spend the rest of my life with a girl I love,” Luca says, “and we will do many wonderful things together.”
At the start of quarantine, everybody’s favorite talking snowman, Josh Gad, created a YouTube series called “Reunited Apart.” In this series, he brought together the casts of some classic movies, like Goonies, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, the Lord of the Rings, and more.
They were fun trips down memory lane, both for the cast members and the viewers.
A few of those specials featured what may be the best chance we have for an actual reunion. That’s certainly true for the Back to the Future team! But Ghostbusters is having a redux, and Goonies has a show coming out soon – about remaking Goonies. Bizarre, I know. And Gad’s latest special features the cast of another 80s classic that has had a recent revival: The Karate Kid.
Ralph Macchio and William Zabka, who star together in Netflix’s Cobra Kai – season three – came together, a song with Gad and Elisabeth Shue (Ali with an I!), and other cast members from the classic flick to raise money for Action Against Hunger charity. They swapped stories about the making of the movie and paid tribute to late star Pat “Mr. Miyagi” Morita.
Check out the fun reunion:
In the first bit of positive news for hip hop legend, Dr. Dre has been released from the hospital after a stay in the ICU for a brain aneurysm. Things looked scary for Dre after he was rushed to the hospital, and brain aneurysms have a high rate of death and permanent neurological impairments. Incredibly, doctors think he will have a full recovery, according to sources close to the family speaking to TMZ.
While he has been discharged, doctors don’t know what the cause is, so he’s being monitored by health professionals 24/7 at home. The iconic producer has had a rough few months, as his LA home was targeted by burglars after he went to the hospital, and four people were arrested attempting to get into his home. He’s also been going through a contentious divorce.
Not long after he was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, he shared an Instagram post saying:
“Thanks to my family, friends and fans for their interest and well wishes. I’m doing great and getting excellent care from my medical team. I will be out of the hospital and back home soon. Shout out to all the great medical professionals at Cedars. One Love!!
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Ice T actually broke the news about Dre’s return home, sharing on Twitter that he just FaceTimed with Dr. Dre, saying “he just made it home, safe and looking good.”
Update: Just FaceTimed with @drdre He just made it home. Safe and looking good.
— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) January 15, 2021
For 36 years, Alex Trebek and his famous mustache were the face of Jeopardy. In November, the beloved game show host passed away after a valiant battle with cancer, and now the producers of the show are scrambling to find a replacement. But whoever takes over for Trebek will have big shoes to fill, and the people behind the decision are not taking it lightly.
Many names have been tossed around, and several celebrities will appear as guest hosts over the next few weeks before a final decision is made. Ken Jennings, the popular former champion with a large Twitter following and quick wit, went first, Katie Couric is coming soon, and now a football player with a history of competing may be next. But potentially not until after the Super Bowl.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is a longtime fan of the show and even won the Celebrity Tournament in $50,000 (and donated his winnings to the MACC Fund (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer).
The QB, currently prepping for his team’s matchup against the Los Angeles Rams in this Saturday’s divisional round of the NFL playoffs, appeared on the Pat McAfee show and spilled the beans.
“I’m really excited about it. We’ve been talking about it for a little bit,” Rodgers said. “I think I may have jumped the gun a little bit so I apologize to ‘Jeopardy’ if they wanted to announce it, I just got so excited on the show earlier. It just went down the last couple of days, us figuring it out. It is very exciting, it’s for the offseason, we’ll be even more excited when that opportunity gets a little closer.”
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) January 12, 2021
The former MVP and Super Bowl champion told McAfee how much the opportunity means to him, as a huge fan of the show.
“The show has been so special to me over the years,” Rodgers said. “It’s been a staple at my house here in Green Bay for the last 16 years – 6 o’clock watching Alex and trying to get as many questions as I can. When the opportunity came up in 2015 I mean that was a dream come true, it really was, to be on there, to get to meet Alex was just such a special moment, and we’re all obviously sad about his passing. I’ve said it before I think when he passed, but there’s this nostalgic connection to certain figures in our life based on our childhood and where we were at and the times we had those memories, it almost makes these people feel like family, like you know them.”
The odds of Rodgers hanging up his cleats and taking over for Alex Trebek anytime soon are probably pretty low. The show’s producers are considering a slew of other potential hosts, including LeVar Burton and Jane Lynch, but Rodgers has proven himself to be more than capable of handling the show’s material, so never say never.
There’s an entire website dedicated to the hilarity of “Awkward Family Photos,” and in a series of videos, TikTok user kylescheele reminds us why we love them so dang much. For some reason, traditional family photos are often bizarre. From strange coordinated outfits to poses that look so unnatural they may as well be aliens doing their best human impressions, there’s no shortage of things that can go wrong. But after staring at the same family photo for decades, Kyle decided to make some changes.
In part one of Kyle’s TikTok, he gives some background on the photo in question. In the scope of things, the picture isn’t horrible. In fact, it would have been a pretty acceptable family photo aside from one small problem. Even though it’s been hanging in his house for decades, Kyle’s dad hates that freaking picture (understandably).
Kyle explains, “for no discernable reason, the photographer had only my dad tilt his head, but my dad didn’t know that until after the photo was already developed.”
Maybe a small head tilt doesn’t sound like something that would ruin a photo, but uh, it definitely ruined the photo. In a picture full of family members looking straight forward, plopped in the middle is Kyle’s dad, staring crookedly at the camera.
The photo has been hanging in the same spot for roughly three decades thanks to Kyle’s mom who unironically loves it. But as a gift to his dad, Kyle decided to put his Photoshop skills to use and fix the photo once and for all.
In a stroke of absolute genius, Kyle decided to not only to straighten his dad’s face in the photo but to tilt the faces of everyone else in the picture. He orders a large, framed copy of the new and improved family photo, and even though he’s seen it before, he is thoroughly tickled when he opens the box.
@kylescheeleThis is the best gift idea I’ve ever had. ##greenscreen ##photoshop ##christmas ##gift ##family ##familypictures ##funny♬ original sound – kylescheele
Finally, it’s time for part two. The moment of truth. Without cracking a smile, Kyle hands his dad the wrapped work of art. As his dad begins to pull back the paper, a smile spreads across his face. He turns the photo to Kyle’s mom, and as soon as she processes exactly what her brilliant son did, she bursts into uncontrollable laughter.
The new picture transcends the category of “family photo” and is now more accurately a work of art, one that will hopefully hang in the family’s house for decades to come. Legend has it that if you hold your ear to your own awkward family photo, you can still hear Kyle’s mom laughing to this day.
@kylescheeleI’ll put my mom’s laugh against yours any day. ##photoshop ##dadlean ##christmas ##gift ##part2♬ original sound – kylescheele