Posted by: husbandandfatheroffour | May 11, 2015

Remember, Words Can And Do Hurt

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There is an old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”  We have all tried telling our children this and things like,  “Don’t worry about it, shrug it off and just walk away, just toughen up and ignore them,” and while that might be some good advice lets be honest with ourselves, could we?  Look around at other adults and then look and examine yourself.  Have you ever been called a name (curse words especially) as an adult and just took it and walked away or did you say something back?  In most cases we tend to say something back and why is that?  Well it is because we demand respect and for someone to call us a name is disrespectful, takes a jab at our character, and is something that can hurt our feelings.  Sure maybe you can shrug it off once or twice but once it is said enough times it doesn’t matter who you are it hurts your feelings.  Go ahead try and sit there and deny it, but if it doesn’t then why do we get mad and retaliate back by calling the other person names that we know will hurt them?  What if someone would tell you, “just to shrug it off and toughen up,” would you listen?  I doubt we would.  Maybe it is a defense mechanism, maybe because we got hurt we want them to hurt, either way it doesn’t matter because there is no reason for us to do it.  So how can we teach our children to ignore words when we as adults can’t even do it?

The bottom line is that hurtful words are spoken because we know they hurt the other person in one way or another.  So for us as adults to stand there and say words don’t hurt is just one big lie, because if they didn’t we would just turn and walk away every time but we don’t.   In fact for people my age (40) and older we can’t really compare our times as youth to that of our children’s when it comes to this subject.  When we were in school if someone was saying something you heard it and then once you got home you didn’t anymore and now that is not the case.  Now kids have facebook, twitter, instagram, and all other social media outlets to keep those hurtful words going.  So now instead of passing someone in the hall twice a day to hear them call you a name, they get to see it 10’s, 100’s, or 1,000’s times a day so that hurtful comment that maybe they could have shrugged off at school won’t leave them alone.  Now it is everywhere they look and they can’t escape it.  It starts to eat at them, it starts to tear them down, and overtime they start to believe the words being said, even if they aren’t true. 

From there depression could set in, maybe that turns to self harm, to a worst case scenario of suicide.  Could you imagine if even the simplest negative word you said led to someone committing suicide?  Sure maybe you don’t even know them and have never even talked to them before but because they were too slow checking you out, mixed up your order, or any other possible scenario and you said something negative.  Now they have decided, “Well now it isn’t just coworkers or schoolmates that are saying things to me but strangers,” and they decide that night was their last and you found out about that, could you handle that?  Would you be alright with that?  If the answer is no then why are we allowing this to be ok when it comes to our kids? 

“Just toughen up, let it go, they are just words.”  They are just words; painful, cruel, unnecessary hurtful words.  If people think words can make you laugh then how in the world do we not understand that words can also make you cry and hurt?  It is never too late to talk to our children about the effect our words can have on someone.  We need to teach our kids to come to us, school officials, counselors, officers, or any authority figure that can help.  “Back in our day” does not work like it did when we were kids because the world has changed way more than it did from our parents to us.  Generations before didn’t have social media where people could taunt you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  If you don’t think that is a difference maker then I will pray that you never have to see otherwise either, because it is cruel, unrelenting, and very, very hard to ignore.  It can take such a drastic effect on someone who was high energy and full of life and bring them down to the lowest of lows. 

So, ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is such a full of crap expression I will never say it again.  I will make sure my children grow up never believing in that expression either.  What I will do is to continue to teach them what the difference between kindness, love, and compassion is compared to rudeness, hate, and cruelty.  I will teach them about God’s love and grace and how much more important it is to show that to everyone you meet than allowing hateful words to come from their mouths. 

Maybe I am wrong but I have never seen kindness make someone feel hurt, dejected, or sad.  I have never seen love and compassion towards someone make them feel unwanted or hated.  Yes maybe you think love, kindness, and compassion are the easy answers but lets face it, they are the only answers.  Now it is our jobs to teach the younger generations that.  There are many ways to say hurtful and cruel words and they can come from all kinds of different circumstances but love, kindness, and compassion can only come from one place; our hearts.  Please talk to your children today and let them know that words can hurt someone, and in the worst cases a simple word can even lead to someone’s death and no one wants that.  

Ephesians 4:29 “Don’t use foul or abusive language.  Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” 

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