Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words …
May kill me!
Many children have been taught the saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Although a well-intentioned notation to help our youth develop “thick skin”, it is quite inaccurate.
Words actually have the power of life and death. What is spoken over an individual, good or bad, can sink deep into the heart and begin to play out in their life.
This is especially alarming with middle school aged students who are already in the midst of hormonal and emotional changes that seem to cause a war within themselves. When you add the aspect of hateful words and bullying into the mix, the results can be tragic even to the point of death.
A little dramatic?
According to the CDC:
· Suicide is the third leading cause of death among persons aged 10-14, the second among persons aged 15-34 years.
In addition to the CDC findings, my community has witnessed at least one youth suicide a year over the last several years.
Please don’t ignore the facts. Don’t discount it as small, a passing fad, or middle school drama.
Instead, be a place of hope for them when they feel no one else is listening.
- · Speak life giving words to your kids and the youth in your life every day.
- · Teach them to value themselves and others.
- · Help them recognize that the cutting words of others are not a reflection on them but on the person who spoke the words.
- · Show them that a damage causing person is someone who has not yet realized their own value. This is not to say that you ignore poor behavior or act like those who harm others “deserve” sympathy. It is to free your child from feeling like the problem and puts the source of the issue back where it belongs.
- · Most importantly, keep the lines of communication open and seek help when needed.
Words can be deadly, but we have the power to give them life!