Do you remember when you were little and someone said something to you that was mean or made you sad or afraid? Then perhaps you went to a parent or teacher or other adult for comfort and they said that you “don’t let someone’s words hurt you, because “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me.”
I am sure they meant well, and they were trying to help us to realize that “they were only words” and that they should not hurt us, or we should not let it hurt us, but what kind of garbage was that? How ridiculous is that? Really? Calling me names doesn’t hurt me? Saying mean and cruel things to a child doesn’t hurt them? That is verbal abuse and it causes pain, and sometimes that pain is long lasting. Lots of adults are still hurting from those “words”. Some of them are still angry and hurt and that anger and pain is being dealt out to those around them.
I am sure someone reading this can remember something someone said that hurt them and that pain lasted a long time, maybe it still hurts, and it was 50 years ago. (I know I can)
So what’s the point?
Knowing that it is not true that “names will never harm me” We need to be careful not to continue the cycle. We need to be responsible for what we say, and quick to acknowledge and ask for forgiveness quickly if we do say something wrong or hurtful. There is no secret formula here, just remember to watch your tongue and remember that little kid who struggled with that advice about the sticks and stones and words that do not harm….. it wasn’t true then, and it is not true now…..