Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sticks and Stones

You know that saying, 'sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me,' ? I think whoever said that was never a seven year old girl being belittled by her older brother.

My heart broke today when I overheard a little boy say to his sister "You're fat." She turned to me and said, "that's my brother and he always tells me I am fat and stupid." Images flash before my eyes of this little girl spending years in therapy, having an unhealthy relationship with food and a battered self- image.

I asked the kids how old they were and they responded by saying seven and ten. Since the kids' mother was lounging on a blanket clear across the park, I looked at the little girl and said,"that's not nice of him.You are not fat or stupid. You are beautiful and smart."

I turned to my own sweet girl and hugged her. I told her she is perfect just the way that God made her.

The fierce lioness in me makes me want to shelter my child and protect her from harm. Today I learned firsthand that harm can come in forms other than just physical pain. Physical pain is quickly forgotten the moment a wound stops throbbing. Emotional pain is deep-seated and gnaws away at us until we feel broken.

Give me sticks and stones any day. Words hurt.