Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sticks and Stones #sol15

I have a problem with the adage, sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. While I know its purpose is to teach children that words can only hurt them if they allow it, it just isn't true. Words have power. Words hold an amazing amount of power. Words change the world for the better and for the worse.  

This morning, I was watching a news story on the march at Selma. I can't even pretend to understand what it took for people to march there. Their bravery and dedication to a cause much larger than themselves is inspiring. While I do not have a personal attachment to that march, it still moves me to tears when I see the images or hear the words surrounding that day. I can't help but wonder if that march would have ever happened without the words of Dr. King and other civil rights activists reminding people of their worth in the world and insisting that a change be made. I know that Dr. King's words changed a nation. That is powerful.

Napoleon Hill, a now deceased author on success, said,"Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another." Those words still ring true today. It is a heavy burden that educators carry with them every day. Our words set our students up for success or failure. While I realize I am an imperfect teacher, I do hope that more students feel that I am in their corner than feel I don't believe in them. It has taken me some time to realize the power of my words. I used to believe that my students weren't really moved by my words; however, I have come to realize that my opinion matters to them. That is an amazing power that I do not take lightly. 

My goal is to be more judicious with my own words. I want to grow thoughtful, well-adjusted, hungry for knowledge citizens of our nation. I want my students, and my own children, not just to accept someone else's words, but form their own opinions and their own words. When they realize that their words are powerful, then they can decide for themselves how best to battle those sticks and stones.  


  1. A very thoughtful slice. Our words are important. That places a heavy responsibility upon us as teachers since someone is listening to us every day who will be affected by the words we choose.

  2. A great slice, my friend! words are extremely powerful, and they can not be taken back.

  3. I find the Civil Rights movement to be one of the most fascinating periods in American history, and although I haven't watched the Selma movie yet, I hope to see it soon. One of my favorite quotes of all time is "“The limits of my language means the limits of my world.” ~ Ludwig Wittgenstein

    Your students are lucky to have a teacher who understands how words empower, ignite, and destroy. Peter Johnston would be proud of this blog!

  4. Yup! Have you read "The Power of Our Words" put out by Responsive Classroom? I think you would really appreciate it.

    1. No Kristi. I need to check that out!

  5. I thought of Peter Johnson's writing when I read your blog post, too. Your reflection in this post really resonated with me. Thank you for sharing.