“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
This might be the biggest lie that we teach children. Words wound deeply and can stick with us for years.
I was pondering this on my way to teach P.E. to 5th-8th graders the other day. My first class of the day is 6th grade and my son is in that class. Trying to be funny about not liking the activity we were doing, he said something that hit on my biggest insecurity and took the wind out of my sails. Words hurt.
I’ve seen people I trusted say hurtful things about my family, labeling and accusing, demeaning and laying us bare. Words that cut deeply and left us raw and exposed. Words that are still trying to heal. Words hurt.
I’ve watched my daughter’s anxiety rise as a result of the careless words spoken impulsively by kids she considered her friends. Words hurt.
Words can also heal.
I’ve watched my daughter radiate joy when her brother compliments her on something she has done that is really important to her. Words heal.
I’ve watched my son’s chest expand and smile return as his dad praises his performance and tells him how proud his is of him. Words heal.
I’ve felt acknowledged and affirmed when a new friend has shown genuine care and asked to spend time with me. Words heal.
How are you using your words? Are you using them to lift someone up and encourage them or are you using them to bring others down?
I’m working to pause before speaking and keeping harsh words to myself, because I know how words can hurt.
And I’m choosing to tell someone every day something affirming and encouraging, because I know how words can heal.
“Kind words are like honey — sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24, NLT