My Mother, who I consider to quite possibly be the wisest person I have ever known, raised me on the adage of — “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Her intent was to both support me when on the receiving end of hurtful barbs sent my way, and to make sure that I learned not to launch any in the direction of others myself.
With all due love and respect to Mom, that’s plain hogwash. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but Words can be truly hurtful. We need to be especially careful, supportive and encouraging with our chosen words for children, whose self-images and psyches can be so fragile. And with everyone, really. Words have the power to hurt or heal. Support or discourage. Build up or tear down. Words can serve to create or to devastate and crush a young and loving spirit. Broken bones and wounds tend to heal well over time, but poorly chosen, hurtful words can leave lasting impressions and scars that stay with us forever.
An unkind word is like toothpaste. Once out, it is impossible to put back. Hurtful and demeaning words may be forgiven, but likely never forgotten.
A kind word can mean the world to someone who may be going thru a rough stretch of road. And we never really know what someone may be going thru from outward appearances. Oftentimes, all a struggling person may need to turn a life in turmoil around is a kind word to know someone else cares. On how many occasions after someone has passed, have we heard the sentiment — “If only I had told them . . . . “?
We should never let pass the opportunity to lend a hand, help someone, or as William Makepeace Thackeray put it — “Never lose a chance of saying a kind word.”
Thanks as always for stopping in to visit. Share a kind word, and make someone’s day a little brighter. — Jim (and Red!)