Just had a random thought. As a kid, I learned that annoying little playground jingle, “Stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” that we talk-sang to the bullies and other kids who hurled insults at us or whatever while trying to squeeze in as much enjoyment as we could during a rapidly vanishing 30-minute recess.
Like anything, with repetition, things become second nature to us after overuse. Okay, words aren’t harmful. Check. As long as I’m not beating a fellow student to death with my math book, he’ll be fine at the end of the day if I call him a “loser” or whatever. He won’t be permanently messed up, maybe telling his story ten years later on Maury Povich dressed as a woman. What?!!!! This is ridiculous to teach the kids! Do people still do this?
Of course words hurt! It’s the stick scrapes and stone bruises that can be seen, therefore proper medical procedures can be administered to them, ensuring they heal and disappear. The word damage is internal. Its effects can’t so easily be seen and tends to scar the person that was stung with them. As kids, we had this little saying in our back pockets, but I clearly remember words hurting. Why were we taught this?
It is sayings like this, coupled with all the other jacked up stuff society throws at kids, that can turn people into monsters when they hit adulthood. They think they can pop off any words that come to mind and there won’t be any long-term damage to anyone caught in the wake.
This is so frustratingly mind-boggling to me…partly because I have been known to verbally slice people up and down like a verbal ninja on crack, and not even think twice about it. What? I didn’t physically harm them so what’s the prob? The prob, old Brennan, is that while there may be no physical damage…the emotional carnage can be devastating.
Easy fix though: Keep your mouth in check. Forget about that goofy saying. Words are bullets.
New saying for the kids: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but…wait, okay, words can always cause permanent internal damage so why don’t we all just be cool instead?”