TIME Parenting

See the Most Popular Baby Names for 2014

Evan Kafka—Getty Images

Charlotte made the Top 10 list for the first time ever

Noah and Emma were the most popular baby names of 2014, followed by a few newcomers to the top 10 list, like James and Charlotte.

The Social Security Administration released on Friday its annual list of the country’s ten most popular baby names for boys and girls.

James, a popular choice in the 1940s and ’50s, returned to the top 10 after missing out for several years. And Charlotte, ranked #10, made it to the list of top names for the first time ever (and the name is likely to stay there, thanks to the new arrival of Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.) There’s even a newborn baby monkey named Charlotte at a zoo in Japan, although zookeepers are considering a name change. to avoid offending the British Royal Family.


Here’s the full list of the top 10 names for boys:

1) Noah

2) Liam

3) Mason

4) Jacob

5) William

6) Ethan

7) Michael

8) Alexander

9) James

10) Daniel

And for girls:

1) Emma

2) Olivia

3) Sophia

4) Isabella

5) Ava

6) Mia

7) Emily

8) Abigail

9) Madison

10) Charlotte


TIME Parenting

Michigan Teen Asks Mom to Prom After Discovering the Tearful Reason She Skipped Her Own

Decades later, her wish is finally coming true

Working up the courage to ask a date to prom can be nerve-racking – especially with the recent trend of elaborate promposals.

But one Michigan teen decided to go the traditional route for his very non-traditional date – his mom.

Danotiss Smith, an 18-year-old high school senior from Pontiac, Michigan, fulfilled his mother’s lifelong dream when he asked her to go with him to the prom.

“I was flattered,” Belinda Smith told ABC News. “I asked him, ‘You don’t want to ask someone else? You don’t have a special friend, someone cool that you can have fun with?’ I’m still elated. I’m just so happy that he wanted to share his day with me.”

Danotiss was inspired to invite his mom to the school dance after learning the heartbreaking reason she couldn’t attend her own prom 24 years ago.

When Belinda was 11 years old, her mother died from leukemia, and she and her siblings moved in with her grandmother. Times were tough for the family, and when Belinda was in high school, she couldn’t afford a lot of extra expenses.

“A couple people asked me to prom, but I had to turn them down because I didn’t have the funds to purchase a dress,” Belinda, 41, told WDIV-Detroit. “It was hard. I went home and cried because I wanted to go.”

Now, decades later, her wish is finally coming true.

“I am overwhelmed,” she told the station. “I’ve been waiting for this.”

“She teared up,” Danotiss said of when he asked his mother to prom.

“Some of my friends said it was kind of weird,” he added, laughing. “But some of them said it was kind of cool. Nobody has ever done that before.”

A beautiful orange dress has been purchased, and Danotiss says he will give his mom a white corsage when the two head to the Waterford Kettering High School prom together on Friday, according to ABC News.

“I just want her to enjoy it,” he said. “I want her to get that experience and have some fun.”

This article originally appeared on People.com

TIME Parenting

Men Are Right to Be Terrified About Mother’s Day

Mother's Day
Getty Images/RooM RF

Marina Adshade is the author Dollars and Sex: How Economics Influences Sex and Love.

The holiday isn't just for mothers anymore

The Monday after Mother’s Day last year, Camille (not her real name), a woman in my friend’s nursing program, arrived at work despondent and angry that her husband had made no effort to celebrate the day. She had expected flowers, gifts, brunch, and an outpouring of love and affection. That disappointment might seem reasonable given the way the holiday has evolved over the past century to one that is less about mothers and more about women in general.

The original purpose of Mother’s Day, first proposed by Anna Marie Jarvis in 1907, was for children to take the time to express appreciation to their mothers. Jarvis envisaged a simple tradition in which each child hand-wrote a note to their mother thanking her for all that she had done throughout the year.

President Woodrow Wilson declared the day a national holiday in 1914, and from that point on, as far as Jarvis was concerned, it went downhill. The holiday became widely commercialized in the early 1920s when handwritten thank-you notes were replaced with purchased cards, flowers, and gifts. There was money to be made on Mother’s Day, and, while the initial sentiment was still there, the holiday has a very long history of being shaped by economic profit.

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans are planning on spending a record-setting more than $21 billion for Mother’s Day this year. That’s an average spending of about $215 for each man and $133 for each woman who participate in the holiday. That might seem like a lot to spend on Mom, but the truth is that much of that money is spent on people in entirely different types of relationships.

Not only are daughters, sisters, grandmothers, and Godmothers all the recipients of Mother’s Day gift-giving, but, remarkably, about 14% of women and about 5% of men plan to buy presents for other relatives, and about 8% of women and 5% of men plan to buy presents for friends.

Of those men spending on Mother’s Day only about 60% plan on buying gifts for their actual mother. About 46% of men spending plan to buy gifts for their wives. That share might not seem particularly high, except that according to the U.S. Census about half of men in this group are married, which means that it’s likely the majority of married men are planning to buy gifts for their wives this Mother’s Day.

So maybe there is reason to sympathize with Camille, given how many men express their appreciation to the women who are helping to raise their children on this day. Except for one thing: Camille and her husband have no children. She is not a mother, and her expectation for special treatment on Mother’s Day was based solely on her status as a wife and future mother of his children.

In the U.K., the equivalent holiday to Mother’s Day, which is celebrated in March, is called “Mothering Sunday.” Perhaps that would be a better name for the North American holiday as well. In terms of having a tradition in which children express gratitude to the women who do so much for them, we seem to have completely lost the plot. More and more, we are celebrating the different kinds of mothering that so many women do: the mothering of their husbands, the mothering of their brothers, the mothering of their friends, and, even the mothering of their pets.

Of course, women have always done these things. The only difference today is that the market has finally figured out that commercialization of “mothering” is more profitable than the commercialization of children’s appreciation.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Family

These 5 Hero Moms Will Give You Extra Reason to Celebrate Mother’s Day

From saving a drowning couple to rescuing kids from a bear

It’s true that every mother is a hero, which is why we have Mother’s Day. It’s just one small day of the year for people to appreciate everything mothers do for their families. But it’s also true that all acts of maternal heroism are not created equal. Dealing with the daily challenges of raising kids is one thing, but saving children from a bear is quite another. So here, in honor of Mother’s Day, we present five hero moms of the year.

  • The Mom Who Rescued Her Kids With a Pizza Hut Order

    Cheryl Treadway was being held hostage with her children in Florida and figured out how to escape—using an order from Pizza Hut.

    With Treadway’s boyfriend holding her and her children their home at knifepoint this week, Treadway ordered from Pizza Hut on her phone and asked in the comments section for someone to call 911.

    Thanks to Treadway’s creative thinking, an employee at Pizza Hut called the police, who then rescued the family.

  • The Triathlete Mom Who Saved a Drowning Couple

    Tamara Loiselle almost drowned six years ago, so she became a triathlete: “I resolved I was never going to be that weak and out of shape again,” she said.

    That resolve ended up being life-saving when she saw a couple drowning off the coast of Cancun last December. There was no lifeguard on duty, so Loiselle , a single mother of two, dove in herself, swam out and brought the couple safely to shore.

    “Words cannot describe my gratitude but I’ll try,” the man said in an interview. “You saved my girlfriend’s life and most certainly mine too.”

  • The Mom Who Got Her Family Out of a Burning House

    Morgan Stone, mother of five, had only seconds to spare to get her entire family out of their Indiana home before it was engulfed in flames last December.

    “It took me a second to really realize what was happening. When I opened the bedroom door and it was full of smoke, it took me a minute to grasp that this was a serious house fire,” Stone said.

    She sprang into action and got her five kids, her father-in-law and her pets out of the house before the whole structure burned.

    “He says I’m a hero,” Stone said of her fiancé, “But I don’t think I’m a hero, I’m just a mom who got my kids out safely—nothing means more to me than them.”

  • The Mom Who Saved Her Neighbor’s Kids From a Bear

    Candace Gama saw her neighbor’s 6-year-old sons waiting for their school bus. Then she saw the bear.

    The black bear was about 20 yards away, so Gama drove her car between the bear and the kids and yelled at them to get in the car. Then to speed things up, she grabbed the boys by their backpacks and dragged them inside.

    According to a local Montana newspaper, Gama’s 5-year-old daughter said her mom was the hero of the day.

  • The Pregnant Mom Who Saved Her Family After a Terrible Car Crash

    Erika Grow’s car hit black ice on the road in Wyoming last November and flipped three times, throwing her husband and sister from the car and leaving her two young children trapped in the back.

    Even though she was eight months pregnant, Grow was able to clamber to the backseat and unbuckle her children, ages 3 and 21 months. She put them in suitcases to keep them warm in the freezing Wyoming weather.

    Grow’s husband and sister went to the hospital, but her two children and unborn baby were unharmed.

TIME Parenting

New Parents Spend Less Time Looking After Kids Than They Think

Miho Aikawa—Getty Images

And fathers overestimate how much housework they do

According to a new study, couples who have recently become parents believe they spend more hours in childcare than they actually do. And couples who intend to divide up childcare equally before their kid is born rarely achieve that balance once the baby arrives.

Researchers from Ohio State University interviewed 182 professional level couples before they had their kids and after. They also asked them to keep time diaries, which log how they spend their hours each day. The results might hold a clue as to why it’s harder for women to become business leaders, a subject that has been under much scrutiny in the last five years. But it also might provide ammunition in the so-called chore wars, because it suggests both men and women—but especially men—do less than they think do.

“Most modern couples want to share the duties and rewards of work and family equally,” says the study, which was prepared for an online symposium on housework, gender and parenthood (just in time for Mother’s Day!) hosted by the Council on Contemporary Families. And indeed before children enter the picture they divide up the labor pretty well. Men and women both report working about 45 hours a week and spending a further 15 hours a week each doing housework. This is borne out by their time-use diaries, which are a self-kept record of what activities took up their day. “Before the babies were born, most couples had achieved a balanced division of labor,” says the briefing paper.

When interviewed during their pregnancies, nearly all the couples had expected that balance to continue after their family grew by one member. “More than 95% of both men and women agreed that ‘men should share with child care such as bathing, feeding, and dressing the child’ and that ‘it is equally as important for a father to provide financial, physical, and emotional care to his children,’” the study says.

Nine months after the kids were born, which is about when schedules begin to settle in, the researchers interviewed the couples again, and each partner felt they had added about 50% to their overall work load. Instead of spending 60 hours a week on paid and unpaid labor, they reported spending about 90 hours a week. The moms estimated they were doing 27 hours of housework, 28 hours of child care, and 35 hours of paid work per week. The dads figured they were doing about 35 hours of housework, 15 hours of child care, and 41 hours of paid work per week.

So both men and women felt like they had reduced their time at the office. Dads felt as if they had picked up the slack around the house, more than doubling the time they spent doing chores, and then adding in 15 hours childcare as well. The women reported doing less housework than men, but a lot more childrearing.

Turns out, they were both wrong. According to the detailed time diaries that the participants kept, they women spent on average 12 hours less looking after the kids than they thought they did (15 hours). Even if playing and reading with baby—not strictly laborious—were included, women still spent six hours less with their kids than they had reported. Similarly, they were only doing about half as much housework as they guessed (13. 5 hours). Where did all the time go? The women spent 42 hours doing paid work— six hours more than they thought they spent in their jobs.

Dads’ estimates were even further off: they did about 10 hours of physical child care, about two thirds of what they had reported. They put in 46 hours of paid work —five hours more than they reported and more than they did before they had a child. But it was their estimate of housework that was the furthest off-base. “The time diaries revealed that on average the men did just nine hours of housework—only one-fourth as much as they thought they were doing,” says the report.

The authors, who were more interested in getting better access to reasonably priced and workable childcare than settling marital disputes about who’s not pulling their weight around the home, note that the eight extra hours a week could really add up. “Women’s total weekly workload increased from 56 to 77 hours across the transition to parenthood, while men’s increased from 59 to 69 hours,” says the study. “Thus, over the course of a year, our calculations indicate that parenthood increased women’s total workload by about 4 ½ weeks of 24-hour days, whereas parenthood increased men’s total workload by approximately 1 ½ weeks—a 3-week per year gender gap.”

The study is very small, and not nationally representative, but it does offer an intriguing perspective on the different impact being a parent has on men’s and women’s lives even in an era when equality is generally recognized as important. The danger is that if women feel overwhelmed they may decide to give up working outside the home.

Why is that a danger? “When a woman quits work, reduces hours, or takes a less-challenging job, she sacrifices earnings, raises, promotions, unemployment insurance, and pension accumulations, thereby undermining her future economic security,” writes Stephanie Coontz, Co-Chair and Director of Public Education at the CCF. “She is also less to likely to have the kind of work continuity that has been found to protect a woman’s mental and physical health better than part-time work, staying home, or experiencing frequent bouts of unemployment.”

Moreover, it further tips the balance of household labor away from the dads. Men feel even more pressure to work to make up for lost income, which leads to women taking over an increased share of the parenting and kids seeing less of their dads. Another paper prepared for the symposium shows that men’s contribution to the share of household work has increased markedly in every country studied, but clearly, the inequities remain.

Is there a solution? Perhaps, but it might involve some tense conversations. “We would argue that men and women should openly confront the workload inequities that develop in their child’s first nine months,” say the Ohio State authors, “because renegotiating the division of labor once routines are established is really difficult.” Alternatively, all new parents could keep a time-diary. Because they don’t have enough to do.

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TIME Parenting

Watch a Blind Mom-to-Be Meet Her Unborn Baby on a 3D-Printed Ultrasound

"If you could touch him, would that let you know what he's like?"

Most expectant mothers get their first glimpse of their baby during the ultrasound. However, if you’re a mom-to-be who can’t see, the ultrasound experience might be a less profound experience.

“Meeting Murilo,” a video posted by the Brazilian branch of Huggies, however, is showing the world how one blind woman was able to share in the awe of that first ultrasound moment, even if she couldn’t see. Tatiana Guerra, 30, has been blind for almost half her life and now primarily experiences the world through touch.

“If you could touch him, would that let you know what he’s like?” her doctor asks. When Tatiana says yes, he presents her with a 3D-printed rendering of the ultrasound that Tatiana can touch and use to “meet” Murilo in a way she otherwise couldn’t until he was born.

And that, folks, is how a diaper ad makes you tear up.

This article originally appeared on People.com

TIME Diet/Nutrition

Kids Overeat When They’re Stressed, Study Says

Especially if their parents use food as a reward

Next time you watch Bambi with your kids, you may want to hide the ice cream: A new study shows that 5-to-7-year-old children tend to eat more when they’re sad.

According to a new study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, kids are more likely to overeat when they are upset, especially if their parents have used food as a reward in the past. The study notes that stress eating is a learned and unnatural behavior, since stress and emotional turmoil usually reduce appetite, rather than increasing it. The fact that children were found to have stress eating tendencies at this age suggests that emotional overeating is something children learn in early childhood, perhaps because of the way their parents feed them.

The researchers divided the kids into two groups, asked them to color a picture, and then told them they would get a toy once the coloring was done. With one group of kids, the researchers withheld a crayon that was needed to complete the drawing, which meant the kids couldn’t get their prize. This was a “stressful situation” for the children. While the researchers pretended to look for the crayon so the kids could complete the drawing, kids snacked on a few different items around the room. Afterwards, the researchers found that the kids in the “stressful” situation ate more than the kids who were able to finish their drawing and get the toy, especially if their parents said they had used food as a reward in the past.

The study found that children were much more likely to stress eat if their parents over-controlled their eating, by doing things like using food as a reward or withholding food for health reasons. According to the researchers, these practices can override children’s natural hunger instincts, instead making food into a reward or an emotional comfort.

But because the sample size is relatively small (41 parent-child duos) more research is needed before we’ll get a clearer picture of how exactly parents’ feeding practices affect the way kids think about stress eating.




Open Letter to the Woman Who Lost It on Her Son in Baltimore

We've all been there

Dear Toya Graham, aka the Mom who was videotaped losing it on her son in Baltimore,

You’re about to hear from the world. Everybody is going to want to weigh in on your parenting skills. It’s not every day that we see a woman really lay into her almost full grown son in public, whacking him on the head, chasing him down the street and shouting curses at him for his misdeeds.

I do not know exactly what set of circumstances led you to march down to the part of Baltimore where the unrest was erupting, possibly putting yourself in danger, and then popping open a can of maternal whupass on your child.

I know that you found him, wearing a mask, at protests which had turned ugly, with people burning shops and cars and throwing rocks at the cops. I know you told CBS that you “just lost it,” that you were “shocked” and “angry, because you never want to see your child out there doing that.” I know that you said you wanted to prevent him from becoming another Freddie Gray, whose unexplained death in police custody sparked these scenes in Baltimore.

But what nobody knows is what you had taught Michael in the 16 years you have spent raising him, whether he had been in trouble before, what other disciplinary methods you have tried or if people were relying on him to be somewhere else. We don’t know if other events that had nothing to do with him escalated your anger. And neither does anyone else, except you and him.

Many people are going to want to give you advice.

I am not in their number.

Anyone can recognize that you love your son, and you wanted him to be better than he was being at that moment. He never raised a hand to you in the video; so clearly he’s not someone whose go-to solution is violence. You must have taught him that. Reportedly, you are raising Michael and five daughters on your own. That’s enough to push anybody over the edge. I just want to go have a lie-down at the thought of it.

Mostly you reminded me of Sigourney Weaver in Aliens, where she marches into the alien’s den. And not just because she’s also wearing yellow and employing curses to make her point. It’s how ferociously she wants to protect the child in her care.

In all honesty, I think he’s going to hate the fact that he’s on a viral video getting the real life equivalent of a Hogwarts Howler more than the fact you slapped him. My wish is that this contretemps will not drive a wedge between you but that it will help you and he to understand each other a little better.

It’s true that most studies suggest that hitting your kid is not the most effective form of discipline. This is maybe not your finest parental hour. But many, many mothers are going to look at that video and see all the frustrations and anguish and fear they have about their sons reflected in your words and actions. Not all of them are going to agree with the way you handled it, but you are not the only mother to have been pushed to her wit’s end, I assure you. And nobody can claim that you don’t care about your son’s fate or what kind of human he grows up to be.

I said I wasn’t going to give you advice, but I have three tips. (1) Don’t read the comments. (2) You may want to retire that yellow shirt. It’s a great color, but way too recognizable now. And (3) Breathe. This too will pass.

TIME Culture

The Dark Origins of 11 Classic Nursery Rhymes

The origins of 'Jack and Jill' aren’t as clean-cut as you imagined

In the canon of great horror writing, Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Bram Stoker, and Mary Shelley tend to dominate the craft. But Mother Goose isn’t too far behind. Yes, that fictional grande dame of kiddie poems has got a bit of a dark streak, as evidenced by the unexpectedly sinister theories surrounding the origins of these 11 well-known nursery rhymes.

  • 1. Baa, Baa, Black Sheep (1731)

    Though most scholars agree that “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” is about the Great Custom, a tax on wool that was introduced in 1275, its use of the color black and the word “master” led some to wonder whether there was a racial message at its center. Its political correctness was called into question yet again in the latter part of the 20th century, with some schools banning it from being repeated in classrooms, and others simply switching out the word “black” for something deemed less offensive. In 2011, news.com.au reported on the proliferation of “Baa, Baa Rainbow Sheep” as an alternative.

  • 2. Goosey Goosey Gander (1784)

    It’s hard to imagine that any rhyme with the phrase “goosey goosey” in its title could be described as anything but feel good. But it’s actually a tale of religious persecution, during the days when Catholic priests would hide themselves in order to say their Latin-based prayers, a major no-no at the time—not even in the privacy of one’s own home. In the original version, the narrator comes upon an old man “who wouldn’t say his prayers. So I took him by his left leg. And threw him down the stairs.” Ouch!

  • 3. Jack and Jill (1765)

    Admit it, you fooled around with the lyrics to “Jack and Jill” a bit yourself when you were younger, turning what you thought was an innocent poem into something a little bit naughty. But its origins aren’t as clean-cut as you probably imagined. One of the most common theories surrounding the story’s origin is that it’s about France’s Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette, who were both found guilty of treason and subsequently beheaded. The only problem is that those events occurred nearly 30 years after “Jack and Jill” was first written. The more likely possibility is that it’s an account of King Charles I’s attempt to reform the tax on liquid measures. When Parliament rejected his suggestion, he instead made sure that the volume was reduced on half- and quarter-pints, known as jacks and gills, respectively.

  • 4. London Bridge Is Falling Down (1744)

    In 2006, Fergie got saucy with some of this classic kid tune’s lyrics. But the original song wasn’t much better. Depending on whom you ask, “London Bridge is Falling Down” could be about a 1014 Viking attack, child sacrifice, or the normal deterioration of an old bridge. But the most popular theory seems to be that first one. More specifically: the alleged destruction of London Bridge at the hands of Olaf II of Norway some time in the early 1000s. (“Alleged” because some historians don’t believe that attack ever took place.) The song’s popularity around the world is often cited as further proof that it was the Vikings who created it, believing that they brought the tune to the many places they traveled. Oh, and that whole child sacrifice thing? That’s an idea that is also often debated (there’s no archaeological evidence to support it), but the theory goes that in order to keep London Bridge upright, its builders believed that it must be built on a foundation of human sacrifice, and that those same humans—mostly children—would help to watch over the bridge and maintain its sturdiness. Which we’re pretty sure isn’t a practice they teach you in architecture school.

  • 5. Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary (1744)

    “Contrary” is one way to describe a murderous psychopath. This popular English nursery rhyme, which reads like a solicitation for gardening advice, is actually a recounting of the homicidal nature of Queen Mary I of England, a.k.a. Bloody Mary. A fierce believer in Catholicism, her reign as queen—from 1553 to 1558—was marked by the execution of hundreds of Protestants. (Silver bells and cockle shells are torture devices, not garden accouterments.)

  • 6. Three Blind Mice (1805)

    “Three Blind Mice” is supposedly yet another ode to Bloody Mary’s reign, with the trio in question believed to be a group of Protestant bishops—Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Radley, and The Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer—who (unsuccessfully) conspired to overthrow the queen and were burned at the stake for their heresy. Critics suggest that the blindness in the title refers to their religious beliefs.

  • 7. Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Mo

    No, there’s nothing particularly inflammatory about the lines “Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Mo, Catch a tiger by his toe.” But there is when you consider that the word “tiger” is a relatively new development in this counting rhyme, as a replacement for the n-word. Even with the lyrical switch-out, any reference to the poem still has the ability to offend. In 2004, two passengers sued Southwest Airlines was for intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress, following an incident where a flight attendant used the rhyme in a humorous fashion during takeoff when she told passengers: “Eeny meeny miny mo, Please sit down it’s time to go.” (The court sided with the airline.)

  • 8. Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (1840)

    “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush” is often sung as part of a children’s game. According to historian R. S. Duncan, a former governor of England’s Wakefield Prison, the song originated with that 420-year-old institution’s female prisoners, who were exercised around a mulberry tree. Which is probably not the connotation your six-year-old self had in mind.

  • 9. Rock-a-Bye Baby (1765)

    One interpretation of this famous lullaby is that it is about the son of King James II of England and Mary of Modena. It is widely believed that the boy was not their son at all, but a child who was brought into the birthing room and passed off as their own in order to ensure a Roman Catholic heir to the throne.

  • 10. Ring Around the Rosie (1881)

    Considering that some of today’s classic nursery rhymes are more than two centuries old, there are often several theories surrounding their origins—and not a lot of sound proof about which argument is correct. But of all the alleged nursery rhyme backstories, “Ring Around the Rosie” is probably the most infamous. Though its lyrics and even its title have gone through some changes over the years, the most popular contention is that the sing-songy verse refers to the 1665 Great Plague of London.“The rosie” is the rash that covered the afflicted, the smell from which they attempted to cover up with “a pocket full of posies.” The plague killed nearly 15 percent of the country’s population, which makes the final verse—“Ashes! Ashes! We all fall down”—rather self-explanatory.

    But Snopes labels this reading false, and quotes folklorist Philip Hiscock with a more likely suggestion: That the nursery rhyme probably has its origins “in the religious ban on dancing among many Protestants in the nineteenth century, in Britain as well as here in North America. Adolescents found a way around the dancing ban with what was called in the United States the ‘play-party.’ Play-parties consisted of ring games which differed from square dances only in their name and their lack of musical accompaniment. They were hugely popular, and younger children got into the act, too.”

  • 11. Old Mother Hubbard (1805)

    To many, “Old Mother Hubbard” is not a mother at all—nor a woman. The poem is speculated to have been written as a mockery of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, whose refusal to grant an annulment to King Henry VIII, so that he could marry Anne Boleyn, led to his political downfall.

    This article originally appeared on Mental Floss.

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Drunk Mistakes Posted on Facebook Are Forever

David Wolpe is the Max Webb Senior Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.

The price you pay for the ease of social media is its permanence

Let me tell you about the only time in my life I got really drunk. I was studying abroad my junior year of college at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. The second night I arrived, all the students were encouraged to take part in a “three-legged pub crawl.” I rarely drank, and didn’t know what that was, but was easily corralled into participating. I was tied, leg-to-leg, to a large Scottish rugby star named Norrie who could drink more beer than I could water, to little apparent effect. We raced from pub to pub, downing a pint of beer in each. Before long Norrie was dragging me, with encouraging shouts of “C’mon, laddie.”

That night was the only time in my life I wanted to die. By the next morning I had learned a valuable lesson about my limitations. But here is the key point—the lesson was mine alone.

That story, embarrassing as it was, would have no life if I never told it. Norrie probably has no memory of me, and I have, to be honest, only the haziest memory of him. There was no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram. No one intruded on me as I bent over in the bathroom to spend the night throwing up. It was the ideal error of youth: committed once, never repeated, with no lasting effects.

I remembered my ill-fated pub crawl last week when a parent came to my office to show me a picture that had been posted on Facebook of her teenage daughter drunk and acting wild. Her daughter—keenly aware of the perils of social media—thought she was safe in a small party with friends. Now, the mother was distraught, and her daughter was nearly hysterical, begging her friends to erase pictures that may not ever be permanently erased. Her “Norrie moment” might never be gone. Twenty years from now an employer could find it in the endless echo chamber that is the Internet.

What should she do? So long as your picture exists anywhere, even on a phone of a friend, it can exist everywhere. She can be grateful that most employers in the future will understand that what one does in high school or college is not representative of the rest of your life. But ultimately the best she can do is to learn that young people no longer have the latitude for the kind of mistakes they once did.

I used to wonder what it meant for children whose early years were recorded by their parents. They no longer had simple childhood memories—they were augmented by film of how they looked, what they said, how relatives and friends acted around them. Now, our lives are recorded far more comprehensively, and the images often tend to the extreme: moments of joy, sorrow, surprise, and embarrassment. And of course, the home movie was designed for those who visited your home. Social media is designed to broadcast your image to the world.

We have heard a great deal about the developing teenage brain, with suggestions that it is less adept at envisioning long-range consequences than the adult brain. The future is less real to those for whom the future is still a long, vast plain of promise. It is our task as adults to continually remind our teenagers that part of the price they pay for the ease of social media is its permanence. In an age when nothing is lost, what was once an error can become a catastrophe.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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