Words are powerful, and the words we choose will either be encouraging and positive, or they will be discouraging and negative. You are likely familiar with the old saying, “Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. Well it’s not true. Words can and do hurt, and can inflict more pain on the hearer than if physically beaten with a stick. Having been in an abusive relationship from a previous marriage, I can tell you with certainty that the mental and emotional abuse experienced from malicious words was far worse than the pain of being hit with a fist or pulled around by my hair.
Whenever I witness someone picking on another person, calling them names, making fun of how someone looks or belittling them about their weight, it makes me sick to my stomach. We hear so much in the news about Bullying and Cyber-Bullying taking place online, in schools and in neighborhoods, with children and teens making fun of and harassing other kids with relentless teasing and hate-filled speech, and it’s only getting worse.
If you think that bullying is only a problem for school-aged kids, think about the people in your life or business office who ridicule others because of their physical size, racial prejudice, social status (or the lack therein) etc, and you will likely be able to come up with a few people you know that are bullies.
I would like to share with you a brief video I saw on Michael Fortin’s Website entitled “The Lines That Divide Us”, which demonstrates how we can and need to put aside our judgments, acknowledge our similarities and develop a deeper connection with others. The program is part of an ongoing effort from the non-profit organization Challenge Day, whose mission is to provide youth and communities with workshops and programs that demonstrate the opportunity to close the gap that continues to divide us because of the words we use.
While you watch this video, think about the words you use within your family and with your children, and see if you aren’t moved to tears. Children live what they learn, and if we want our children and teens to treat others with proper respect in all areas of life, than grownups and parents need to get real about how they themselves are talking to and about other people.
Once you have seen and listened to this brief video, I highly recommend taking a few more minutes to listen and watch the full 15 Minute Teen Files Video called “Teen Files: Surviving High School”, and I welcome your thoughts and comments.