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I can almost hear my friend say it: "Nothing is so bad it isn't good for something."

True, the recent controversy over Adrian Peterson and his small child has brought considerable attention to the growing concerns of child abuse. There is nothing new about child abuse except it seems to be excruciating and escalating. And when it concerns a well known individual it brings it to the news.

In a recent article that was published, Steele County reports that between 500 and 600 cases of abuse have been reported so far this year and the numbers are still growing. That is reported cases.

It is hard to understand how anyone can abuse a child, especially their own. They are children for such a short time; it seems like we should delight in every minute.

Abusers have many excuses and falsehoods about why. "My father did it," "My mother did it," "I was frustrated," "The kid was uncooperative," "He cried," and the list goes on. Yes, the list goes on, but there really is no plausible excuse. Even the child who has physical and mental disabilities that can make them hard to deal with from time to time does not cause reason to put more hurt on their young bodies.

I don't know what the circumstances were for whipping this 4-year-old child, but wouldn't it have been more adult to contain the child in their arms, telling them you love them instead? We need to tell them there are things they shouldn't do because they are not likeable acts, but it can be administered with caring, not catastrophe.

Taking time for the child and the parent to think about the situation makes more sense than making the act worse by hurting and accepting the situation.

Kids make us laugh. They make us cry. They make us proud. They can drive us crazy at times. They surprise us too and make our lives good. Moody, stubborn, abrupt - we love them anyway. After all, they are a product of their parents!

How would you feel if someone else treated your child with abuse? You would more than likely be outraged, and you should be. Why should it be any different if the act is performed by someone close to the child, like their father or mother?

Things change in a moment. It isn't worth the chance that your child’s last memory would be how you hurt him/her and not about how caring and loving you were.

Child abuse can come in many disguises. Mental abuse may not leave visible bruises or cause breaks, but it can be like a brand — burned into the mind. It is so easy to say things you may not truly mean at the time, but time doesn't erase its effect. 

Words; they aren't just words. Remember the old adage, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me?” Not true. The brain has a way of remembering things like "stupid," "dumb," "idiot," and that's just a few. Did someone tell you, "I hate you?” Did you forget it? They were probably just angry at the time, and in fact loved you very much, but it hurt you and you may always remember it.

There is a campaign on now to try to minimize bullying. Where does it come from? Bullying occurs when someone has power over someone that he/she feels is "less" than they are. But in reality it is compounding the feeling of that person’s own reality that he/she is in fact "less" so they take it out on someone they feel superior to. If parents inadvertently exercise their power over their children, does the child resist it by "getting back," not at the person who over powers them, but on someone they may feel inferior? 

That is where love should come in, positive communication, good role models and such. Everyone has their insecurities that shouldn't be magnified, even if some aspects may be true. Instead it should be reversed, in essence, by positive communication. 

By not inferring someone is different or "less than" works at building self esteem. Why? Because if a child has true self esteem he/she doesn't feel a need to bully someone else. We need to learn to bring out the good qualities they possess.

I truly think things have changed for the better, but children with problems should not be obviously treated differently because it sets them up for bullying.

I was impressed with our local school district when they gave other children a chance to learn sign language because they were "fortunate" to have a deaf child in their classroom. The kids love it and love him. What an educational experience. He is special and shares with his friends.

I was privileged to live next door to a child with Downs Syndrome when I was growing up. She was the most positive influence on my life I could know and it didn't stop there. It flowed over to my children, and their children as well.

Then there is Anne. She is one of the most beautiful people I know whose love for her child is so strong she feels his defects are a blessing to her life.

Adrian Peterson, I am sorry your father hurt you so bad you felt you had a right to discipline your small child with hurt, not love. Times have changed and though it was not right years ago, it was done. It shouldn't have been done and definitely not now, when we should understand.

If one is in the public eye, they, above all, should be a positive role model, enriching the lives of children. No matter what may be achieved on the football field, what people will remember is how that person made them feel.

Always call a child by their true name, not something derogatory. You have power to end child abuse!

— — —

Birthdays and anniversaries:

• Thursday, October 16th: Taylor Tieskotter, Kade Schember, Jenny Shaunce, Sabrina Marie Bauers, Allie Larson, Donna & Gordon Hanson, Daniel & Regina Van Kampen, Jamie & Amber Jensen, Travis & Stacy Ingnaszewski

• Friday, October 17th: Lucas Bailey, Pat Wayne, Dale Strenge, David Killian, Sherrie Dahl Shott, Dustin Wayne, Pam & Rick Cook, Sidney & David Kasper, Andy & Mary Ditlevson

• Saturday, October 18th: Gordon Jensen, Carrie Nolan Allen, Andreas Quinn Vu, Stan & Cindy Nelson, Randy & Cindy Horan, Tait & Jennifer Ingvaldson, Carol & Larry Cox

• Sunday, October 19th: Robert William Pulley, Jody Johnson, Katie Ann Carlson, Jan Klocek Louks, Roger Larson, Jeanene Reese, Kristi Nelson, Everett Thompson, Barbara Olson, Esther Rodi, Jim & Laureen Hohansee

• Monday, October 20th: Kimberly Wangsness, Matthew Beckman, Shannon Smith, Diana Beckmann, Jenny Herbst, Erick Widlund, Casey Kunkel, Nicole Larson, Doris Scripture Steele, Rick Kelly, Adam Lang, Scott & Joni Groth, Laurie & DeWayne Jensen, Jim & Nancy Bottelson, Brad & Nicole Edwards

• Tuesday, October 21st: Todd Utpadel, Brian Riley, Deb Mucha, Peter Benson, Natalie Kuehni, Steven F. Christenson, Diane & Dan Gallentine, John & Trisha Cyr

• Wednesday, October 22nd: Scott Sorenson, Jennifer Pence, Lyle Swearingen, Brian Johnson, Kelsey Wayne, Dave De Vriendt, David Polzin, Colleen Thompson, Sage Tristan Lang, Clifford Coy, Diane Gallentine Pfieffer, Kailey Ann Christensen

• Thursday, October 23rd: Jacklynn Kress, Marian Dahl, Gene Grubbish, Kimberly Kilian, Grant Ver Hey, Stewart Hatch, Rick & Lana Thompson, Dan & Tina Schmidt, Gary & Deb Nelson

• Friday, October 24th: Noelle Mae Brekke, her 4th; Jacob Keith Rigby, his 5th; Jeff Dobbertstein, Bobby Dobberstein, Joseph Bailey, Dan Willert, Eunice Hanson, Bob Wayne, Ashley Ashton, Gil & Kay Nelson, Lorna & Russell Reistad

May you find joy and pleasure all around you on your special day!


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