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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sticks and Stones


'How do you live with yourself, Lord Arrogant?' 'Very easily, Lady Difficult. I find myself quite charming.'”
G. A. Aiken (About a Dragon)

Name calling seems to be the order of the day. We all do it, unfortunately. Still we are surprised when it shows up in our elected officials and presidential candidates. It seems so, well, childish. And, so it is. Name calling is the last bastion of an insecure ego.

Remember your own childhood, when other children picked out whatever trait most embarrassed you, and slapped it on you as a nickname. I was a skinny kid, so I was called “Olive Oil,” and “Boney Maronie.” The fact that I still remember them is testimony to their power. I heard other kids labeled “Bucky” and “Stork” and “Piggy.” And, of course, the pretty girls were called, “Babe” and the guys, “Hunk.” Taunting names certainly left no doubt as to who was in, and who was out. Today, such nicknames are far more profane and cruel.

In Robert Fulghum's best-selling book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, the old “sticks and stones” nursery rhyme has been changed to: “Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will break our hearts.” Words said to inflict pain cannot be taken back—they leave a scar that will be remembered and felt into old age. It is also true that words spoken in kindness and praise will be remembered. Sometimes, kind words are positively life-changing for the hearer. I have to ask myself, which legacy do I want to leave?

                                                                    In the Spirit,

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