Sticks and Stones
Esther, Age 12, Dunlap, IL
I think that the phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” means that although sticks and stones cause physical damage, words cannot. However, the rhyme “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will break my heart” is saying that while sticks and stones will hurt you on the outside, words can hurt you on the inside. The second rhyme is probably more exact.
It’s true that words can’t damage you on the outside; however, they can be just as harmful as real sticks and stones. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but contrary to the saying, words can be just as hurtful.

In sixth grade, my group of friends was in a middle of a conflict.

Considering that it was a year ago and a small argument between best friends, I can’t even remember the specifics of what we even argued about.

However, somewhere in between, an angry friend told me that I was always criticizing her and that I put her down at every chance I got. I was surprised and hurt. As far as I knew, I tried to be as supportive to my friends as possible.

Hearing these words from her made me wonder if that was what she truly thought of me. Had I somehow become uncaring and insensitive towards one of my best friends? And if she believed this, did my other friends think the same? Needless to say, those words hurt my feelings, and it made me doubt myself. That’s what careless words will do to anyone.

Even though we got over the argument quickly, my friend’s words still stung. However, instead of confronting her openly, I decided to just contradict her words with my actions. I tried to be understanding and be the good friend that I had always intended to be.

Looking back, I realized that in that little period of time, I hadn’t always been the greatest friend to Sierra that I thought I was being. So I tried to change that by listening, offering support, and fulfilling the role of “best friend” that I had neglected.

Now she and I are just as close as before, and I always keep that incident in mind, so I never forget to be the very best friend I can be.

Words can be powerful weapons. But the belief that they can only destroy isn’t quite valid. You have to use them to build people up. Of course, this is harder for some people than others. Being verbally attacked isn’t uncommon, and it’s easy to want to fight back with cruel words of your own. But my advice is to smother them with kindness. It sounds cliché, but it’s great advice. Never lash out at the bullies – just treat them like you would anyone else. Everyone has been hurt with words before. But we need to start using them for good, starting now. 
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