Sticks and stones
Most of my early childhood memories involve those 5 kids...and they are amazing memories. What I also remember, and now notice as a mom, however, is that once a child goes to school, those innocent childhood songs and chants can become taunting and hurtful jeers coming from children who are supposed to be our friends. I grew up saying, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." And I've even said that same little chant to my boys. But the truth of the matter is.....that names do hurt. They have the potential to hurt us for a lifetime and scar us deeply.
may break my bones
I still see a "four-eyes" when I look in the mirror, and I've never been comfortable in a swimsuit ever since my "best friend" said I had baby fat and then patted my tummy. A lot of my "friends" in high school would call me "bookworm" and get mad at me if my grade on a test was too high because it would "throw the curve". I would always laugh it off, but underneath my smile, my heart ached. Words hurt, and they replay in our minds over and over and over and over again. Broken bones and scratches heal, but words have the potential to stick with us forever.
but names will
I think about that every time I am talking to- or disciplining- my boys. I don't ever want a negative or hurtful thing that I recklessly say through anger to replay in their heads. What bothers me the most, though, is that I have no control over what is said on the bus or the playground. When my son calls home crying because the neighborhood bully has targeted him, yet again, calling him names in front of the other kids, my heart aches and that hurt little girl being called "four eyes" on the playground that cowers inside of me doesn't know how to respond. What do I tell my son to do when the mean girl at school constantly showers him with a barrage of hurtful words spewing out of her mouth uncontrollably. We very quickly label the bully who is physical with others, but what about this new form of bullying that is running rampant.
never hurt me.
I know that teasing, bullying, joking all come with the many lessons of growing up but we have to remember what it was like to be that kid. Yes, my friends, words hurt. We need to stop telling our kids that words will never hurt them because they do...and they will. Cyber bullying, text message bullying and whatever else kids can think up are out of control, and it is scarring a generation full of greatness that is yet to be discovered. It is our job as the adults to help kids, teach kids, and build them up. Maybe we need to listen more and talk less. Maybe we need regress to simpler times. Maybe. I'm not sure what the answer is but I know that words are very powerful; they can give us hope, they can give us motivation, they can make us laugh, they can make us cry.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names most definitely hurt me.