As the saying going, “Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words can never hurt us.” Really? That life lesson seems a little naive, if not excessively violent. Sticks are for roasting marshmallows. Stones are for skipping over a glassy lake on a hot summer day. Of course getting a stick in the eye is going to hurt and a stone to the skull will probably leave you dizzy and in need of an ice pack. Painful granted, but usually temporary. But words? They have a way of getting under your skin and festering for awhile; stinging and burning like a painful rash.
I heard my kids playing upstairs when my son suddenly said to his sister, “Where did you get that from? Did somebody say that to you??”
He came down to report that Avery had called him “Dumbo Ears.”
She didn’t know what it meant and was obviously only repeating what she had heard. She told us somebody said it to her at school. She couldn’t name who.
Avery’s ears do stick out and it’s not the first time she’s been teased about it. The thing is, she has no idea. In the face of a bully her response is always a smile or a giggle.
“Why would somebody say that to her?” my son asked. “She’s such a nice girl!”
“Yes, she is a nice girl.” I explained that kids sometimes say thoughtless things. It doesn’t bother her.
“But one day it will!” he said.
“Probably. But we’ll teach her how to handle it. She’ll be ready.”
He seemed satisfied with that but added, “I’m still mad. People are so rude. And if I find out who said it….”
Oh my sweet boy. My fiercely protective streak is only surpassed by his big brother lion heart.