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bullying, halloween, parenting

Evan was so excited to go to his school's Halloween party as Tony Stark.

It can be hard for anyone to bounce back after being ridiculed, but especially a kid who is just figuring out how to make their way in this wacky world. Bullies only succeed when we change our behavior because of them, so it's important that we don't let jerky behavior keep us down and destroy our joy.

Ten-year-old Evan learned that lesson firsthand last week.

It all started with Evan preparing for his school Halloween party by getting decked out in a sweet Tony Stark costume, complete with facial hair makeup, glasses and pomaded hair. His mom, Jill Struckman, shared photos of him in his costume on Facebook.

True to Tony Stark style, Evan wanted to be driven to school in the family's Mercedes, but his mom wasn't able to take him so he had to take the school bus.


"He was over the top excited about his costume…" Struckman wrote in another post. "He couldn't stop smiling when he left home."

Unfortunately, that excitement was ruined by some kids on the school bus who told him he looked stupid.

"Evan got to school and immediately went to the bathroom and washed his face," Struckman wrote. "When he called he was crying and sooo hurt that he didn't even want to stay for his party."

"Kids need to understand that WORDS hurt," she added.

After she got the call from the school, Struckman picked Evan up and took him out for a treat and a talk. She told TODAY Parents that Evan kept apologizing for washing his makeup off. "He kept saying, 'we worked so hard on it,'" she said. "He was really thinking about how I would feel, which tells you a lot about him."

Sometimes a little TLC from mom and a little space from the situation (and a little Starbucks as well) is enough to help a person rally, though.

"After going to Starbucks and talking through his feelings, Evan decided he didn't want to miss his school party!!! So we went home and redid his AWESOME makeup and marched right back into school!"

"He was a little scared walking back into school," Struckman told TODAY. "But he had a great rest of the day. And he was so proud of himself. It was absolutely a defining moment in his life. If he hadn't gone back, it would have broken his spirit."

Struckman shared in another post that Evan is a kid who usually enjoys standing out. "This boy has swagger and usually doesn't let things that people say get to him," she wrote. "I don't want him to ever lose that and for a minute I thought he had let others' opinions get the best of him and it crushed me!"

She also wrote that she doesn't think the kids who bullied him are evil. "I think one kid said something mean and that others got caught up in it and it snowballed from there. It's another important conversation we should all be having with our kids—DON'T just go along with something you know is not right… I think all kids just want to fit in and sometimes that might mean agreeing with something you know is wrong."

Struckman's posts on Facebook have received overwhelming attention, with thousands of comments of support pouring in. She says she's also received countless messages from all over the world, as well as offers to send Evan money. He doesn't need cash, she has said, requesting that people make donations instead. However, for the people asking if they can send him a card, she provided a PO box number.

What a great example of resilience on Evan's part and loving support on his mom's part. Bullying only prevails if we let it. Good job owning your own self, Evan. And good job, mama, for teaching your kid to be compassionate even as you teach him to stand up for himself.

Education

Teacher of the year explains why he's leaving district in unforgettable 3-minute speech

"I'm leaving in hopes that I can regain the ability to do the job that I love."

Lee Allen

For all of our disagreements in modern American life, there are at least a few things most of us can agree on. One of those is the need for reform in public education. We don't all agree on the solutions but many of the challenges are undeniable: retaining great teachers, reducing classroom size and updating the focus of student curriculums to reflect the ever-changing needs of a globalized workforce.

And while parents, politicians and activists debate those remedies, one voice is all-too-often ignored: that of teachers themselves.

This is why a short video testimony from a teacher in the Atlanta suburb of Gwinnett County went viral recently. After all, it's hard to deny the points made by someone who was just named teacher of the year and used the occasion to announce why he will be leaving the very school district that just honored him with that distinction.

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Joy

Tea time: how this boutique blends cultures from around the world

Ethically sourced, modern clothes for kids that embrace adventure, inspire connections and global thinking.

The Tea Collection combines philanthropic efforts with a deep rooted sense of multiculturalism into each of their designs so that kids can grow up with global sensibilities. They make clothes built to last with practicality and adventure in mind. But why "Tea"?

Let's spill it. Tea is a drink shared around the world with people from all different cultures. It is a common thread that weaves the world together. The Tea Collection was born from a love of travel and a love of sharing tea with different people in different places. Inspired by patterns from around the world, these clothes help children develop a familiarity with global communities.

Tea sources their materials ethically and ensures that each of their partners abide to strict codes of conduct. They have a zero-tolerance policy for anything "even slightly questionable" and make sure that they regularly visit their manufacturing partners to ensure that they're supporting positive working conditions.

Since 2003, The Tea Collection has partnered with the Global Fund for Children and has invested in different grassroots organizations that create community empowered programs to uplift kids in need. They donate 10% of their proceeds and have already contributed over $500,000 to different organizations such as: The Homeless Prenatal Program (San Francisco, CA, USA), Door of Faith Orphanage (Baja California, Mexico), Little Sisters Fund (Nepal) and others in Peru, Sri Lanka, India, Italy and Haiti.

But the best part about the Tea Collection? They're also an official member of the Kidizen Rewear Collective, which believes that clothes should stretch far beyond one child's use. They have their own external site for their preloved clothes that makes rewearing affordable. Families can trade in gently used Tea clothes and receive discounts for future products. Shopping the site helps keep clothes out of land fills and reduces the environmental impact of the fashion industry.

By creating heirloom style clothing made to last families can buy, sell, and trade clothes that can be reworn again and again. Because "new to you" doesn't always have to mean never been worn. And let's be honest, we all know how fast kids grow! Shopping preloved clothes is a great way to keep styles fresh without harming the environment or feeling guilty about not getting the most out of certain styles.

But don't just take our word for it! Head over to the Tea Collection and see for yourself!

Upworthy has earned revenue through a partnership and/or may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through links on our site.

Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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