“Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but names . . .”???

All of you have probably heard and recited the rhyme “sticks and stones may break by bones, but names will never hurt me”.  It sounds good and you think by saying it, it’s true.  There have been several instances in national news lately.  Here in FL, a young lady committed suicide because of the constant name-calling and bullying from classmates.  Most recently, we hear about an NFL football player who left the team because of the hurtful, shameful insults and verbal abuse.

I’ve been called many names growing up and in my adult life, and they have all hurt.  The emotional trauma and breaking of your spirit can’t be explained only experienced.  Thankfully, my experiences never drove me to suicide but the depths of depression were real and seemed permanent.  The good news that I want to share is that you can endure and will overcome.

I have a beautiful Japanese mother and dad who is a southern gentleman from Alabama.  As you might imagine, growing up was a bit of a challenge in school.  When I reflect now, I realize that the name-calling and being singled out enabled me to grow thicker skin with each experience.

I went to school in the 70’s.  Some of the names I remember include “half-breed”, “Chink”, “Jap”, “Nip”.  I don’t remember the year, but when “Tora, Tora, Tora” came out, the name-calling was relentless.  Yeah, the kids were mean and cruel, and I certainly didn’t understand why they picked on me.  I just remember the taunts in the hallway and notes being passed to me in class.

So now, here we are in 2013.  Some kids are still mean and cruel.  Unfortunately, they don’t just name-call to your face but “share” on facebook, twitter, text messages, etc.  My frustration and anger is that there is no intervention until tragedy happens.  The “mess in Miami”, as it’s now called, is an example where name-calling, insults, etc. came from an adult.  The young man who is the “bully target” checked into a hospital because of emotional trauma and left the football team.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”.  No matter how many times you say it out-loud or to yourself, trust me, NAMES HURT down to the soul.

I don’t know how to stop mean people.  I share my story because I choose to “Bea Positive” and keep a good attitude no matter the circumstance.

So my question to all of you . . .

  • What do you do when you suspect or see someone being bullied?
  • Do you stop it or do you tolerate it?
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