Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will hurt our hearts.
-Mrs. Robinson’s Classroom
This quote was on the wall of my homeroom class in 6th grade. It was my first day at a new school in a new town where I didn’t know anyone. “You see, sometimes we don’t realize how powerful our words can be” Mrs. Robinson explained after reading the quote. “Even if we don’t mean them to be. That’s why we need to watch what we say.”
This week, a viral video spread this week with a brave news anchor who stood up to a bully. She told her viewers that it was okay to be comfortable in their own skin.
a lot some people don’t think that the e-mail he said to her wasn’t bullying and if anything she was the one bullying him. These people are defining the word “bully” as someone abusing their position of power to control or harm others. To those people, I have to whole-heartedly disagree with you. Words are powerful. We can wield them to do great things and we can abuse them to hurt others, even driving some to end their own lives. In this “golden age” of communication where everyone has their own personal soapbox (also known as a Facebook page,) we all feel the need to share our opinion, not matter how ill-informed or toxic it will be received. We have reached a time where bullying is no longer exclusive to some, but accessible to all. We have to be better as a society. We need to be okay with people standing up for themselves. This anchor didn’t swear, she didn’t insult this man or his family, heck she didn’t even use his name on the air. She retaliated by creating a teachable moment out of it. She reassured us that it’s okay to be us.
Last night on my run, a guy on a bicycle called me fatso. (“How’s it going fatso?” to be exact.) how did I respond? Did I yell back at him? Did I hurl personal insults at him? Did I throw a stick in his spokes? No. I retaliated by running faster, pushing myself harder. In fact, I broke a personal record last night. I made myself better. That’s what we need to learn from Jennifer Livingston’s response, that we should make something great out of other people’s ugliness.
I’m proud of her courage and the example she has set for all of us. If I had heard an anchor say the things she said when I was little, I would have been a different person. Thankfully, I turned out okay anyway.
Thank you Jennifer. Way to brush them shoulders off.
See ya tomorrow.