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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch - Sleepy Eye, MN
  • Everyone has a story

  • Brandon was nine years old. He had big brown eyes, dark brown hair cut close to the frame of his face, and although that face didn’t hold a smile much, it did display a pair of beautiful dimples right in the middle of his big cheeks.
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  • Brandon was nine years old. He had big brown eyes, dark brown hair cut close to the frame of his face, and although that face didn’t hold a smile much, it did display a pair of beautiful dimples right in the middle of his big cheeks.
     
     
    Brandon loved art and was very good at it. It was the only class at school that offered some comfort for him. Otherwise school was tough: he regularly visited the principal’s office for misbehavior; his homework assignments were crunched into the bottom of his old ratty backpack ~ never being done or checked; and the clothes he wore were dirty and often smelled bad.
     
     
    Although he did show up each day, Brandon always looked hungry and tired, was not able to focus and when he kicked his chair over, or snapped at a student who teased him, he’d get into trouble. The teachers were frustrated with him and the other kids stayed clear of him. When he sat in the cafeteria for lunch, kids would sit all crunched together in order to allow enough space between themselves and Brandon.
     
     
    On the inside, Brandon was steaming mad, sad and frustrated. Not only did he wish he fit in with the other kids; getting his homework done, being prepared for a test, having clean clothes to wear, smelling better, having a friend or any person who was nice to him. He also wished his Mom hadn’t died a few years ago, and he desperately wanted to be near his dad, who was sent to prison two years ago for selling drugs.
     
    Brandon was living in his eighth foster home in the past two years. He was so tired of losing people in his world, that he would test each family he lived with ~ putting on his most challenging behaviors in attempt to end the relationship on his terms, rather than having it end suddenly and surprisingly beyond his control.
     
     
    Behind every action, every person, every face is a story! Take time to understand. October is National Anti-Bullying Month. Bullying happens everywhere for children, teens and even adults. It can be overt, such as hitting, fighting or name-calling, or covert, such as gossiping or leaving someone out on purpose. It is intentional, meaning it is done knowingly. According to the National Bullying Prevention Center, 160,000 students stay home from school nationwide each day, due to bullying.
     
     
    The end of bullying begins with you! You can make a difference. Bullying is a modeled behavior. Model to your children how to treat others appropriately. Treat your children with love and compassion so they will treat others the same way. A child, who isn't treated with respect at home, has a very difficult time learning to treat others with respect.
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    Take a stand when you see a problem and teach children to do the same. Before you make a judgment about anyone ~ how they act or what they do, take a moment to understand their story.

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