Sticks and Stones May Break Your Bones and Words WILL Hurt You
I think about the saying I grew up with in childhood – “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.” As an adult, I’ve come to think of this as a fairytale statement. Of course words WILL hurt you! Words possibly hurt more than sticks and stones. After all, words are directed at our emotions and provoke an emotional response – whether it’s laughter, tears, or yelling.
Growing up, I had red hair, freckles, and fair skin. I didn’t shave until I was in 6th grade (for my 6th grade dance). Plus, I had really crooked teeth. I was the target of much teasing by those around me. Please understand that not everybody teased me, but it was enough teasing from a few people to cause me to go home, curl up in a ball, and cry my eyes out. As an adult, I now understand how frustrated my parents (particularly my mother) must have felt to see her little girl hurt and crying. How can kids be so cruel?
In fourth grade, I had a crush on a guy named Kenny. I told my “best friend” (if that’s what you’d call her) that I liked him and thought he was cute. Immediately following, I asked her to please not say anything. What did she do? I’m sure you know what she did. She pushed open the bathroom door, ran out to the playground, and told him. I sat there thinking to myself – maybe he likes me back, maybe he’ll marry me in the field (LOL – do you remember that?)…what would he say?
She ran back to the bathroom and my heart was pounding, wondering what good news she would bring me. I asked her what she said. She said “He hates you and thinks your ugly.” Uhhhhh…stab to the heart. Simple words like that which were no big deal for him to say turned my world upside down. I walked over to the other side of the bathroom with my face in my hands and cried hard…really hard. Sticks and stones may break my bones….and words DO hurt me!
As a parent, I think it’s important for us to teach our children that words DO hurt people. Hurt feelings result from racial slurs, blogger bashing, name calling, nagging, knit picking, and more! Words do hurt! Think how different our world would be if people would choose their words more wisely and be more sensitive to the feelings of those around them. It would be amazing to see people around us understand how their words and actions might cause others to feel and because they care about the genuine well-being of those around them.
What are your thoughts?
P.S. I’m happy to say that I now LOVE my red hair, fair skin, and freckles. I shave when I get the time and braces have left me with a beautiful smile. Shame on you Kenny. Look what you missed out on!