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One Way to Stop Bullying

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My son is special to me, as most children are to their parents. But he’s also a special kid. He’s a straight-A student, is training to swim competitively, and reads the Bible before he goes to bed. He’s a Christian and proud of it. He’s in the school choir and involved with Odyssey of the Mind. He’s been chosen to go to Great Britain with the People-to-People Organization, who chooses children who have made an impact on his/her community. My son’s charitable deeds started at age three, when he overheard my friend, Marie, was visiting from New Jersey, where she worked in a Pediatric Emergency Room in an inner city hospital. Marie mentioned they don’t get a lot of toys for the kids to play with, while they’re waiting for tests to be done, or others ordered.

He snuck away to his room and brought out about thirty matchbox cars and put them in her suitcase and said, “Take these for the poor kids. I have enough toys.”

A few years later, we had moved up to New Jersey from southern Florida, and Conor caught a CNN report on the destruction of an elementary school in Ft. Pierce, Florida, which was the school his “best” friend went to. The library lost most of its books. Conor brought in a collection can, and then his kindergarten teacher raised the bar and sent home flyers to all the parents in the school to help with donations. Conor managed to raise over $1000 to replace the books. His story was featured on the front paper of the local paper on Christmas Eve. What a beautiful gift for a parent!

For several years, he raised money for Heifer International, which provides third-world countries with farm animals and seeds, and then teaches them how to take care of them. Last year, he was thrilled to be able to raise enough to buy a water buffalo for a village.

And this year, it will be a charitable drive for Haiti. But despite his good works, and wonderful parent-teacher conferences, my son gets picked on at school, to the point where he’ll cry because he says he only has one friend. And meeting the kids in his class, I tend to agree with him. For the third year in a row, he’s been placed in a classroom of kids who have C or D averages. He’s a member of the school’s Talented and Gifted classes, which meets two times a week. It’s the only thing that challenges his questioning mind.

So, after the latest round of shoving, teasing and stealing of his work, my husband and I have had enough. A bomb-scare at the township’s high school on Friday was the last straw. I looked up Christian schools and found the right fit. It’s for kindergarten to twelfth grade, so if we decide to stay in New Jersey longer than our four-year goal, I know heal be in a learning environment with other Christian kids. I’m not saying there aren’t Christian bullies, but they are dealt with quickly. My son won’t be afraid to go to school any longer.

The best thing about the school, other than it’s small, it’s Christian-based, and Conor will have Bible study along with a strong academic calendar. There are plenty of activities for Conor to pursue, including choir and even drama class. He takes lessons now at the Philadelphia Actors Center every Saturday and has an agent who really thinks he has the “thing” you need to be an actor— he’s smart, good-looking, and takes direction well. He’ll continue to swim, so that he may be able to get a swimming scholarship to University of Florida, which is where he wants to go to college to become a pediatrician. And we’ll be able to fund his activities since the tuition is very affordable.

I believe God had a hand in this. I believe He helped me find this school. Now we’re waiting for someone to contact us about whether or not there is a slot for him for next September. With God’s will, my son will be attending Christian school and learn more of how to deal with others who aren’t such good Christians. And that’s the most this Christian mother can ask for.

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