Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me. Whoever said this, lied through their teeth. They lied or they have veins of steel.
Last night my daughter came home from her 6th Grade Social visibly down. She looked beautiful, but something clearly burdened her. When I asked about the social and what went on, she put up a strong front, yet she was transparent. She went upstairs and napped. She never naps. When she awoke, we talked. After much probing, I learned that a 6th grade boy, accompanied by his “boys,” walked up to her and called her an ugly b#@%&. “I was really strong mommy. I managed not to cry the whole time.” That broke my heart. This isn’t the first incident we’ve had with this boy.
As you can imagine, I was livid. But my first priority was to make Lauren feel better. We talked about how people can say ugly, mean things and that what this boy said was not true. I told Lauren that she is absolutely beautiful. I held her, caressed her, prayed for her, and gave her pointers on how to handle mean people. Lauren couldn’t concentrate on anything the entire evening. She couldn’t eat, couldn’t read, couldn’t even sleep. She came downstairs about 11:30pm and just cried in my arms. She told me that she never wanted to ride the bus again. The little boy rides her bus and gets on and off at her stop. My heart broke last night.
This morning I took Lauren to school so she wouldn’t have to ride the bus with the boy. I wanted her to feel safe and comfortable, but I don’t want to teach her to run away from her problems. I know that we need a proactive solution; not avoidance. As she got out of the car, I promised her that Daddy and I would handle the situation. I cleared my business calendar and made my daughter’s issue my only focus. My husband called the boy’s father and they discussed the words spoken and my daughter’s crushed spirit. I spoke with the school counselor. Then I called up a client who is also a friend. Her daughter has been a victim of bullying. My client assured me that my feelings of outrage, heartbreak, helplessness, and fear are normal. She gave me concrete ideas on how to proceed and how to protect my daughter from ugliness at school.
My daughter will get through this. Her Daddy and I will make sure she heals and learns from this. Words really do hurt. Words can shatter people and leave scars. I think words can hurt more than sticks and stones. Parents, please talk to your kids about the impact of their words. Encourage your kids to THINK before they speak.
Your words can really, really hurt someone. Think…before you speak.