Remember the ditty: “Sticks & Stone will break my bones, But names will never hurt me?
My mother would remind my siblings and me that when someone picked on us. Or we picked on each other.
Yet the events of the past week certainly prove: Words matter. They can hurt. They can stick. They can threaten. They can provoke.
I’ve been thinking about words lately, mostly some of mine. Particularly, I’m reviewing a play I wrote several years ago that caused pain and anger in a family member.
While the act of writing the play may have been cathartic for me, as a way to express my perspective on a challenging situation, for this person, the writing humiliated and embarrassed.
For this, I apologize. I never meant to hurt people I love.
While others found universal messages in the play, this person saw ridicule.
I’m reading books about family rifts, especially those between parents and their adult children. I recognize ways I have crossed boundaries and created tension with various questions and remarks that present either an invasion of privacy or expectations of behavior.
We are all human and we all make mistakes. We can learn from them and try harder.
Family and friends are worth the effort.