Tag Archives: present

Sticks and Stones are Secondary

30 Mar

Did you grow up in the era of  “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me!”

Childhood memories can be brutal – especially if you were ever accosted by a bully.  It didn’t happen more than a couple of times to me, but I remember yelling these words hoping the bullies chasing me would somehow get tripped up by some magical force that the words conjured up! They never threw punches, but the unkind words they flung could be far more damaging.

“Ugly duckling!”  “You look like a boy!”  “Pigeon toes!”  Words thrown in haste that decades later, for most of us, can still sting.

Names and words can be powerful weapons that can inflict pain, rejection or verbal “spanking” of others.  I believe that words can turn into W.O.M. – weapons of mass destruction, and cause widespread damage to whole societies.  (Hitler used words to effectively control a nation and alienate the world.)

I recall the story of a bully whose father caught him taunting the neighborhood kids. As punishment, he made his son put nails into a fence for each name he had yelled.  The fence was covered with nails by the time he was finished, and the father talked to his son about the damage he was causing.  The son recognized the bad behavior and promised to stop bullying.  When a day that passed without name calling, the father allowed the son to remove some nails from the fence, until it was finally clear of nails.  The lingering message came on the last day when the father showed the son the holes that remained in the fence.  The son then realized the lingering damage of careless words.

Today, many parents refrain from corporal punishment (physical spanking), but fail to recognize the harm they inflict by the verbal spankings they unleash with their words.  (It is oft quoted that children hear the word “no” around 67,000 times by the time they reach the age of two, and the word “yes” far less!)

What is worse – physical or verbal abuse? 

If you believe the opening line of this post (sticks and stones…), you may not agree that words and tone can cause damage.  But I would bet that unless you have the most confidence and the most wonderful parents in the world, you probably still cringe when you recall harsh words of grownups from your past.  Why do we convict those who use physical abuse as their weapon and not those who use words to the same effect?

This week, a new documentary called “Bully” opened in select theatres across the country.  The filmmakers chronicled the life of a teenage victim, in the hopes of raising awareness and curtailing bullying in schools. I agree that it is time we take action to stop school yard bullies so that all children can concentrate on learning (a good strategic move for our nation!)

Next steps…

Maybe the next step after that will be to face the less obvious, but sometimes worse, cyber bullying and verbal abuse.  But, first, we as adults, need to stop and recognize the power of words to cause harm.  Guilt, shame, rejection, and embarrassment… these are but a few of the emotions we can stir up with pointy words.  We would never poke someone’s eye out with a stick, but we don’t think twice about stabbing them with words.

(Sidenote:  sometimes parents even use these tactics on their grown children to coerce or manipulate them into submission.  I’ve seen plenty of examples of this from friends whose parents don’t realize they are no longer children.)   

Perhaps the first step towards healing our societies is to reword the childhood adage… to maybe “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will ever hurt me.”

Just food for thought…

Carol

Living Keywords – The Top Five

14 Jun

Google ranks websites by keywords, search engine optimization (SEO) maximizes keyword provisioning, we remember concepts by keywords… and business coaches rely on keywords to transfer knowledge and concepts.

As such, there’s a recurring theme to keyword selection: make them memorable. I’ve found five top keywords that reoccur no matter what book or guru or model I come across.

LighthouseThe top five keywords are (in no order):

1. Present: as in the current state.  Focus on today’s results, moods, plans, accomplishments because they are all we ever really have.  It is said that today is a present (a gift) which is a play on words but tells the true meaning.

2. Self: as in self-love and making sure that you take care of yourself first.  While many of us bear other roles in life (mother, father, son, daughter, caregiver, partner, friend, etc.) we can never truly give our best in these roles unless we truly love ourselves.  In some models this is called “Integrity” and means that we should always treat ourselves as we’d like others to treat us (a bit of a twist on the golden rule!)

3. Trust: as in trust that others carry their own baggage and do things based on their own perspective. Some advocates call this “never assume” or “don’t take things personally” because others only speak from their own point-of-view — never ours.  This also translates into trust ourselves and our intuition.

4. Flow: as in life is a continuous flow of energy – positive and negative – and is constantly changing form. Nothing that exists in this moment will be the same again. This means that we can celebrate the positive moments, and also know that negative ones can change for the better in the future.

5. Belief: as in the universe is plentiful beyond our belief.  The Law of Attraction, The Secret, religions, etc. all support that there is an ever-expanding capacity that the universe will support more love, energy, prosperity, finances, success, happiness, money, than we can even imagine.  Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich and many other popular models hinge on the premise that what we envision we can achieve – without limits.

What are your living keywords?

Wishing you a successful and prosperous week!

Regards,
Carol

Carol Dekkers, Software Measurement and Global Software Development expert, author, speaker. Want to engage Carol to be a speaker at your next event? Email Ms. Dekkers at dekkers@qualityplustech.com or carol@caroldekkers.com or visit http://www.caroldekkers.com for details.

Copyright Carol Dekkers 2010…

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