Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sticks and Stones: Words Really Do Hurt

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me..."  This is what we teach our children, to not let words hurt them.  This phrase that we too learned as children, but we have learned to not be true, and it is something that we should not be teaching our children.  Words do hurt, they can hurt more than sticks and stones.

I haven't blogged (not a blog without a project) in quite some time now.  The main reason, and one that will plague me for the rest of my life, is that someone made fun of me.  I know, it's juvenile, but it still made me second guess everything that I said [wrote] or even did, and no matter how long ago it is, there will still be that nagging voice inside my head thinking "what will people say if I write this?"  Thick-skinned I am not, but I can take it much better from people that I do not know than people that I know and thought I was close to.  That is the problem, I knew them well, and they went out of their way to make fun of me and my blog and my life.  That being said, I know that I should not have let that bother me, but it did.  And it made me think.  Have I ever made other people feel bad about themselves because of something that I said?  That is when it occurred to me, words really do hurt no matter how old you are.

I have seen words hurled at others out of anger or stress and it was like a slap in the face for that person.  I have seen words hissed in moments of anger and watched the person react as if they had been struck.  Words can be poison, something that can never be taken back once they have been used.  People can forgive the person for saying them, but forgetting the words is another story all together because they affect you, change you, make you into someone that you were not before those words were used.

This brings me to our children.  Do you watch what you say to them?  Your words will stay with them for the rest of their lives.  Do your words make them a better person or do they tear them down?  In a moment of joking, do you tease your child and create some kind of self consciousness about them that wasn't there before?  Or do you build them up so that they can withstand the hailstorm of words that will come from the outside world during their lifetime?  Or maybe it is your quieter words, the "not right now" or "I'm busy" or "I don't have time for this" that make their eyes sting and their hearts feel heavy.  I have been guilty, I am sure you have been guilty, because I know that parenting is hard and sometimes you feel like you don't have time or you are busy or it is the last straw on your back that is about to make it break.  But just remember that in a few short years they will not want your time or your attention.  It will be you who wants their attention and when they tell you that "not right now" or "I'm busy" or they "don't have time" remember where they first heard those words and how to use them.  Remember that you taught them how to use words that hit the heart like sticks and stones.

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