A friend from the Gump recently quoted another friend on Facebook. It made me think of another thing he said that deemed quote-worthy. He, mimicking a popular childish saying, said, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words may break my heart."
I got to thinking about that today and about the original saying ending, "but names will never hurt me." What are we telling kids to say? If you really want to hurt me, start throwing rocks?
Are we trying to raise kids to be unaffected by the words of another human being? Sure this saying is originated to apply to foolish childish torment but what does it say about our society? Like my friend mentioned, words can burn much deeper than physical pain. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes we need another person's insight to realize that we are becoming something we don't want to be. Sometimes we need a critique that burns deep in our chest to drive us to succeed. If we say that words, or names for that matter, don't hurt us we are just saying that we've finally cut off a communicative tool that makes us human and that motivates us to change, teaches us to be better and encourages us to appreciate praise.
Words can hurt. We should teach children that instead. And, even when the words are aimed to dig deep and hurt, they can counter-intuitively lead the victim of said words to progress. It may just be a song but there are plenty of real life instances where these lyrics from Dirty Head's "Check the Level" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHoN9FOGos4) can apply: "she didn't know that the things they said that left her hurting would actually turn out to make her a better person". It's just a little lengthy to say "sticks and stones may break my bones but those mean words you say can turn out to make me a better person so watch what you say."
In the end, I like the way my friend put it, "words may break my heart." This encourages thought and apathy. It appeals to our morale rather than our drive to hurt others. It explains that we are human and that language can be a very effective tool. It can motivate us to chose our words carefully, to engage our brains when we move our tongues. Overall, it reminds us that we are all human and that we all have feelings and, at some level, we care about what others think of us.
<3 *the title is a quote from Amelie, an amazing French movie. A rude, often crude and stubborn, man is calling his employee a vegetable and someone chimes in that at least he (the man, not the employee) could never be a vegetable, because even artichokes have hearts.