Sticks and Stones

Folk wisdom isn’t always right.  The old saying ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me’ has virtue more as a defiant gesture than a psychological truth.  Many of us take years to shake off descriptions earned in our childhood – ‘clumsy’, ‘noisy’, ‘tone deaf’ or worse ‘stupid’.  Maybe even the positive ones can be a problem.  If you’re the’clever one’, do you have to live up to it?  If your good looks were your passport to the world, does it hurt when your hair falls out and your chins multiply?

There’s lots of advice around now on how important it is to speak positively to children.  We could all do with some of that.  I was in a conversation recently about how some buildings and places seem to carry an almost tangible vibe.  Somebody made the point that we all leave a trace behind us wherever we’ve been.  The words we say are part of that trace. 

I actually got to thinking about this in terms of the current financial climate and how we all catch the anxiety whether or not it actually applies to our own situation.  Words of doom and gloom can weigh us down even if we’re not personally affected by a downward trend. 

My resolution for today is not to be a self-fulfllling prophet of doom!  (We’re all doomed.  Don’t panic!)

1 Response to “Sticks and Stones”


  1. 1 chris September 3, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    I always felt a bit cheated because I was expected to do well at school. While my friends had praise (and the occasional largesse) heaped on them for good results, I was told “good” – and worried like mad about my (increasingly lousy) maths results. I have a horrible feeling I maybe repeated this with my own kids … must ask!


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