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FIRST-grader Brian had a problem. After school he would hold his papers neatly stacked as he headed to the school bus to come home. But a small feisty school bully would frequently trip him as he ran for the bus.

Brian would go sprawling across the concrete, his papers a mess, and his knees skinned.

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My reaction, as his mom, was to immediately report the bully.

``Brian,'' I said, ``I'll report this kid to the bus driver - your teacher - the principal!''

Brian pleaded, ``No, Mom, don't report him.'' After some thought he added, ``Give me a week.''

Every day I anxiously waited for Brian to return home, and I cautiously held myself back from reporting the bully.

Finally, my six-year-old got back to me: ``Well, Mom, I solved my problem.''

``What did you do, Brian?'' I asked.

``I made friends with him.''

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Mary F. Webster, Madison, Wis.

There were many instances in my childhood household when humor made the point needed to correct carelessness or a bad habit.

When I was 12 years old, I had been reminded not to leave my shoes in the small bathroom after I had taken my bath and gone to bed. I had done it and been reminded more than once!

But one morning I could hardly push the bathroom door open wide enough to enter. A stack of my father's shoes was blocking the way.

It struck me so funny. We all had a good laugh - and that was the end of that habit.

Dee Hopgood, Boston

If you would like to share a short constructive experience about family relationships, please send it with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to In the Family, Home & Family page, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115. Sorry, there is no payment, and we cannot reply to all submissions, which become wholly the property of the Monitor and are subject to editing.

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