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Successfully launching adult children provides parents with more happiness as they age

Kevin Wells

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Children make their parents happy, but they are frequently a source of stress. From the expense of child-rearing to the emotional rollercoaster adolescence presents, parents can have it tough. Does the good outweigh the bad over the long-term? According to one study, it definitely does on the happiness front. 

An important caveat is that the children grow up and establish their own household separate from mom and dad. Older people with children are statistically happier than their childless peers once their children leave home.

The finding comes from a team of researchers led by Christoph Becker at Germany’s Heidelberg University. It is rooted in data gathered in the massive “Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe.” Survey data is collected from 16 countries and over 55,000 respondents and focuses on a population age 50 and over.

Becker told The Independent in the United Kingdom that while the difference in the amount of happiness was not large — less than one point — children are still a significant influence on the emotional well-being of their parents.

Why? 

Many researches believe it is the built-in social network that a child provides to a parent throughout later life. Adult children and spouses are an easy opportunity to maintain fellowship as a person ages. When the adult child has left home on good terms, they are less likely to present an emotional and financial burden, so their company is more readily enjoyed as a familial friendship. 

As far back as 1979 studies and beyond, researches have documented the importance of social relationships. As people age, the ability to maintain social and community ties improves longevity, even when those who are living longer fall into high-risk categories. The obese, smokers, the sedentary and drinkers with social ties still lived longer than their counterparts going it alone.

The ageing study suggests the trend holds true even in the digital age. The study responsible for the “happiness” finding also references the importance of friends and children for maintaining cognitive functioning skills, such as reasoning, remembering and decision-making, in later life.

In fact, the role of the spouse as an aid to cognitive functioning is much less important than other social ties outside the home as people age. However, the study does shows the built-in social network of marriage or having a partner can significantly boost happiness. 

Succeeding as an empty nester

The study findings clearly illustrate the importance of adult children not living in the home as part of the happiness bump. This requires parents to successfully ready children for the financial and emotional demands of adulthood. 

Preparing children for a productive, fulfilling life as an adult is one of the most important responsibilities of a parent, and it now seems it is also one of the best gifts parents can give themselves as they age.

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A Call to Change by An Amazing Third Grade Class

Renee Yates

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I have always believed that hate and greed are things that humans are taught- that they are learned behaviors- not characteristics that we are born with. Children are pure and, unless taught otherwise, they are full of love and compassion. This story encompasses this theory more than any other I have ever seen.

Just a few weeks ago on September 21, 2019, sweet and lovable eight year old Daniel Hunt’s and his family’s Tennessee home went up in smoke, along with their possessions. This included all of Daniel’s beloved toys. What was a devastating blow to this child did not stop him from being the happy and friendly kid on campus.

More touching, though, is his classmates’ response. It started with being overly friendly- making an extra effort to play with him, holding doors for him, even sharpening his pencils for class- but sweet Daniel could have never guessed just how far it would go. 

After being sent on an errand by the teacher, Daniel Hunt returns to his classroom to find a large pile of toys and classmates yelling, “Surprise!” Turns out, his teachers and classmates had been secretly collecting toys for Daniel. This group of 8 year olds had such compassion for their classmate that they put extreme effort into replacing the possessions that kids love most- his toys.

And, in true Daniel Hunt fashion, while being elated at his new toys, he responded in a way that most adults would not: He turned to his classmates first- before even approaching his new toys- to say, “I love it!” and called them all in for a giant group hug.

These selfless, loving, and compassionate acts from such young hearts is incredibly touching. At the same time, it calls us to question ourselves. When is the last time we have given so selflessly to others in need? As adults, it is so easy to worry about whether our bills are paid as opposed to caring for others as we should. Not these young children- they simply worried that their friend had nothing to play with.

This group of eight years olds- both Daniel and his classmates- can inspire the world to be different. They can remind us of the compassion that we should show other humans. They can remind us of the joy of giving. It is time that we learn to give again.

People are in need year round, so there is always a reason to give, but this time of year is a great time to start. With the holidays quickly approaching, we should bear in mind the families who cannot afford to buy their children Christmas presents, the elderly who have no family to visit them, the single moms and dads who are merely trying to keep their heads above water, the families with no heat for the winter, and those with no home at all.

Let’s take a lesson from these incredible children and find the love that we were born with to give to others what they need this year and every year to come. 

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10 Young Girls Who Are Knocking Down Society’s Walls and Influencing Change

Renee Yates

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Let’s be truthful: females and minorities are at a disadvantage. In fact, unless you are a Caucasian male, you face unfair challenges. Many people simply accept this as “just the way it is” and find a way to deal with it. That seems like the easiest thing to do: take the path of least resistance, try not to rock the boat, accept our lot in life. And, with that, we go on about our days and lives, finding a way to live the best we can.

Then, there are those of us who simply refuse to accept how it is, and these are often what we consider heroes. They are the ones who take the road less traveled, go against the grain, and rock every boat necessary to reach their desired outcomes. They are the trailblazers, and we admire their strength and courage and dedication. And why not? They are admirable people. 

What, though, is more impressive than an adult blazing new trails and working hard to change something? When a young female does it. These amazing girls have multiple “strikes” against them: their gender, some of them their race, and- of course- their ages, but they let none of those things stop them from reaching their goals. Consider the ways in which they are working for things they believe in.

Greta Thunberg

This young lady knows that protecting the planet lies in the hands and actions of its inhabitants. At only 16, she addressed the UN on the topic of climate change. Most of us are too nervous to address our middle school class or coworkers in a large meeting. Greta put her game face on and became the leader of what is known as the largest climate strike in history. 

Mikaila Ulmer

Have you ever been stung by a bee? Or, better yet, have you ever wondered just what a specific insect or “pest” does for us? Mikaila Ulmer has done both. At only four years old, she was stung by a bee while selling lemonade. This led her to study just how important bees are for the planet. At only nine years old, she went on Shark Tank to promote her business Me & the Bees, which sells flaxseed lemonade that supports bees. Next time you visit a Whole Foods store, look for her lemonade sitting on shelves.

Amariyanna “Mari” Copeny and Autumn Peltier

These two young ladies have found fighting for clean water as their cause. You might recognize Amariyanna. At only eight, she wrote a letter to President Obama about the Flint water crisis, which resulted in the President’s visit. She even spoke at the White House regarding the issue.

Autumn Peltier is a fifteen year old Native who spoke at the UN about communities, especially indigenous ones, that lack access to clean drinking water. She was only 13 when she addressed the UN, and is quoted as having said, “We can’t eat money, or drink oil”- wise words from one so young. 

Malala Yousafzai

At only 17, Malala took on the fight for providing an education to everyone- an unaccepted idea in her part of the world. Even though she has put a target on her back, so to speak, from organizations that do not believe in women’s rights, she pushes on with the goal of helping women meet their own educational goals. 

Bana al-Abed

Do you remember what you were doing at 8? It is safe to say that most of us were playing as opposed to dealing with the war in Syria and becoming such a young refugee. Though this experience could have easily hardened young Bana al-Abed, she chose a different route. She used Twitter to share a very detailed account of what was really happening in Syria, and the truth of the suffering behind it. She was offered a book deal, and used her platform to petition worldwide leaders for change in the war-torn country. She quickly became one of the youngest activists for change.

Sophie Cruz

At a mere six years old, Sophie Cruz was facing losing her parents due to immigration laws. She took it upon herself to write a letter to the pope- one that was intended to keep ICE from breaking up families. Now, at eight, she continues to fight immigration laws.

Asia Newson and Maya Penn

These two young African American businesswomen are making waves. Maya Penn started an eco-friendly clothing business at only eight years old. Since then, she has been name a “SuperSoul 100 Entrepreneur” by Oprah, had her own TED Talk, and started a nonprofit for environmental changes.

Asia Newson started selling candles at only five years old. She is now a teenager and uses her platform and talents help build small businesses in her hometown, teach other children how to run a business, and even providing jobs. 

Jazz Jennings

Jazz is a transgender teenager who has been standing up for her beliefs since early childhood. She has her own show on TLC- one which she has opted to use as a way to be a positive role model for other members of the LGBTQ community.

These young women are making strides and knocking down walls. It inspires us to ask ourselves: How can I be a positive influence and spark change? Do I accept my life “the way it is”, or do I take it by the horns and dictate my life instead of it dictating me?

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Loving Daughter Honors and Appreciates Her Hardworking Mom

Shannon Jackson

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It is incredibly easy to worry as a parent. Working parents- especially single working parents- have an additional set of worries and layer of guilt. I know because I have been there. And, though I have not been a single mom in some time, I am still a hardworking one.  

My mind is bombarded with questions on a daily basis: Am I doing enough for my kids? Do I work enough? Or too much? What will my children remember of me? Will they remember that I was never around because I was always working? Will they hate me or resent me for what all I cannot give them? I want to do more for them, but doing more requires working more. How do I decide between working more and being with them more? I know that I am not alone in this worry, but I have hope to share with us all. 

Sabrina Long is a 51 year old mother of three. Just like many parents, she struggled as her children grew to take care of them and provide for them. The biggest memory on her children’s mind, though, is not doing without. It is instead the love and sacrifice their mother gave by working hard to do all that she could. This fact is appreciated so much by her 30 year old daughter, Shalanda Thurmond, that she found an incredibly creative way to show it on her mother’s recent 51st birthday. 

In front of Sabrina Long sat a box and in her hand, a card. She read the card that included a sweet and tearful literary depiction of appreciation from her daughter. The end of the card simply read, “I need you to pull something out of this box.” Sabrina did as requested and found an amazing surprise. 

It started with a $5 bill. As she pulled it from the box, she found it attached to more and more money in $5, $10, and $20 denominations. The end of the long chain brought the total up to $3,000. While Shalanda knows she can never fully repay her mother for all that she has done, she gave her mother something that most moms do not get: a large sum to be splurge on herself with.

While the gift Sabrina received is definitely one for the books and is touching in and of itself, the more heartwarming thing is seeing that this daughter remembers only the good of the childhood struggles. This can bring relief and hope to all hardworking parents. Though it is never wrong to strive to be a better parent or one that can spend more quality time with our children, we can take some of the pressure off of ourselves. 

Even when we work hard, when we do it for the right reasons, our children will see it. They will remember that we did all we knew to do for them, even if we wish it were more. It is relieving and encouraging to know that our children see the love we have for them through the actions we take, and that is what they will remember later in life. 

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Texas Mom Beats the Odds to Deliver Record-breaking Sextuplets in Less Than 10 Minutes

Shannon Jackson

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In a record book-worthy delivery, Texas mom Thelma Chiaka gave birth to 6 babies at the Woman’s Hospital of Texas in Houston. Besides beating 1 in 4.7 billion odds just to have 6 living offspring at one time, Chiaka made the event even more miraculous by delivering all six infants in 9 minutes total.

Born at 37 weeks gestation, the infants made their entrance into the world on March 15, 2018.  A picture of the new mom beaming from a hospital bed while surrounded by her own mother and two of the hospital’s neonatal team quickly became a viral sensation. People across the internet marveled at the innate strength shown in Chiaka’s eyes after such a quick and amazing birth process.

But clearly, the 3 sets of twins were ready to make their appearance. The first baby was born at 4:50 am to be followed in quick secession by it’s siblings until the last one popped out at 4:59 am. Though each baby came in just under 2 lbs each, they were announced to be in stable condition. All of the children spent time in the NICU to give doctors time to ensure they were strong enough to take on the world on their own.

Multiples are created when multiple sperm cells come to inhabit the same egg cell. In the case of Thelma Chiaka, three egg cells each were inhabited by 2 separate sperm cells. This resulted in 3 distinct sets of twins inhabiting Chiaka’s womb at the same time. The final count for the Chiaka children stood at 2 girls and 4 boys.

Multiples are always a big deal. But big family groups like sextuplets tend to draw the public eye more than triplets or even quadruplets. Other families, like John and Kate Gosselin of reality TV fame, used their family’s notoriety to create a multimedia empire that helped them support their large brood. However, public attention has not always proved positive for these families. Octomom Nadya Suleman endured brutal public commentary on her decision to self-inseminate and bear 8 children as a single mom. The general public was even more mystified to find out Suleman already had 6 children before the insemination. With 14 young children, no regular employment, and no husband to help in any way, Suleman turned her attention to the media and reality TV to provide for her family. Her efforts to use her multiple birth fame for dollars quickly turned into a sordid public persona.

Other families offered more heartwarming stories. The Waldrop family of Alabama endured countless miscarriages before they were finally able to conceive a desperately desired 4th pregnancy. After successfully birthing 3 boys in single pregnancies, the couple welcomed sextuplets to the fold in fall of 2018, bringing their total to an astounding nine.

A new birth is always a precious thing. HOwever, multiples make it even more heartwarming for everyone around.

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Elementary Students In New York Are Overjoyed When They Receive This Touching Gift!

Kelly Taylor

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Do you remember what it was like waking up early for school, only to find that you didn’t have the right supplies to get through the day? The unfortunate truth is, many children live in this state of being throughout their entire childhood. Whether due to neglect or merely lack of income, students go to school every day without the supplies that they need to get the education that will prepare them for life. Fortunately, there are great people out there working to turn the situation around. Our story begins at the P.S. 52 Elementary School in Queens, New York where the entire student body was gifted with a touching and emotional gift.

The Kids in Need Foundation is a charitable group that operates with one goal in mind, to make sure that all children have what they need in order to succeed in the classroom. This nationally recognized charity made headlines when they showed up at P.S. 52 Elementary School in Queens with a gift for the students that had assembled in the auditorium. As the children waited on the edge of their seats, the foundation arrived with brand new, high-quality backpacks, filled to the brim with important school supplies. Each child was given a bag and the corresponding supplies to have, take home, and use as they work through their courses.

When the students were handed their bags, they were beaming with joy. When the young students began to dig through the bags, they started laughing, cheering, and shouting with joy. While most people can take school supplies for granted, that isn’t a luxury that everyone can afford. There is nothing more heartbreaking for a teacher or parent than to see a child without the tools that they need in order to prepare for the future.

The Kids in Need Foundation has a mission statement of supplying many of the 15 million kids who currently live in abject poverty. More than just a bag or a set of binders, the school supplies that the Kids in Need Foundation hand out can dramatically improve the lives of the children that they are helping. In fact, studies have routinely shown that when students have their own school supplies, there are a number of direct benefits. Among the many benefits of a well-prepared student are improved self-esteem, a better attitude toward school, and improved behavior and engagement while in the classroom. Of course, prepared students also score higher marks on their homework and exams. 

Last year alone, more than 200,000 teachers came together to supply six million students from poverty challenged communities. The Foundation has been operating for more than 23 years, and they have, thus far, donated more than $1 billion worth of supplies to children who would have had no other recourse for their school preparation.

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