Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sticks and Stones

"Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me!"

My generation grew up hearing this little catch phrase, but I don't hear it said much anymore.  I think people over the years correctly came to the conclusion that it just wasn't true.

As far as I can remember, I have only been in one physical fight in my life.  It was with a kid in junior high and it didn't last long.  He was experienced in fighting and I wasn't, so he laid a number of punches while I was still trying to figure out the rules.

As can often happen, he and I became friends after our fight (and people say girls are hard to figure out).  When I look back at that fight, and recall some of the fights my students have gotten into, I realize that physical altercations (unless it is some kind of sustained abuse) don't tend to leave wounds.  In fact, I have noticed some of my students have to take a moment to recall a fight they had earlier in the year.

However, you can speak to most adults and discover that they carry a wound, or many wounds, over something that was said to them in the past.  Contrary to the phrase above, not only do words hurt... they often leave lasting damage.


Jan Hollingshead said...

I have to admit that it would frustrate me to no end when I was was a child, and people told me "Just don't react when people say mean things, and they will leave you alone." I think that provoking someone is just about as bad as hitting him. Which is why my kids are rebuked not only if they become physical in an altercation, but also if they provoke their sibling(s).

Andrew said...

I agree Jan... somewhere along the way I started to see that verbal violence is just as harmful, if not more so, than physical violence. I notice that, even in my inner-city school, kids are just not as verbally mean to each other as when I was growing up. I think parents of the previous generation were well intended, but much too tolerant of verbal taunting. Victims should not be on the hook to toughen up... We need to expect better of our children and each other.

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