They’re Not Broken, Just Bent

                                                                 bent tree

The title of this post is partially stolen from a Pink song that is up for a Grammy Award this year. In this case I am referring to the students that we get to see each and every day. Many of them are unfortunately bent before they even reach our door each morning.

They are bent because of what they have had to go through since they were last in our care. They are bent because the circumstances that they live in are so bad that they don’t see any chance of them getting better. They are bent because they are tired, hungry, stressed and angry. Eric Jensen’s research on the effects of poverty on the brain is brilliant, mind blowing and depressing all at once (http://thesciencenetwork.org/docs/BrainsRUs/Effetcs%20of%20Poverty_Jensen.pdf).

We know that water boils at 212 degrees fahrenheit and the fact is that many of our students come to school already at 211 degrees because of what they have to endure when they are not with us. Yet, we are stunned when one little thing seems to send a child over the edge. One degree isn’t much to us, but it can be a lot to someone ready to boil.

So what can we do about this? First, we must realize that no child is broken, but many children are bent and it is our job to straighten them as much as possible.

How do we accomplish this?

1. We point out their strengths while continuing to help them with their weaknesses.

2. We never let them keep their heads down because we are there to lift them up.

3. We forgive them when they make mistakes because they are kids and because so are we.

4. We give them a reason to come to school each day because for many it is the best part of their day.

5. We don’t let them see us bend because it brings them down and because our troubles are nothing compared to what they are going through. As Todd Whitaker says we are the filter, and we must never forget this.

6. Finally, we let them know that we love them no matter what. No matter what! No matter what!

Many of our kids are bent. We can’t ever see them as broken because in today’s world of constant spending, we throw away things that are broken. That is not ever an option! It is our job to help lift them up. Their eyes should be fixed on the stars not their shoes. Good luck! I know you can do it!

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