The Strongest Weapon, the Deadliest Poison, and the Ultimate Power

Daniel - Woodbine, Maryland
Entered on June 11, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: golden rule

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

This old idiom has ingrained itself in our minds since our kindergarten days, but I wonder if the inventor of this phrase realized what he/she was saying.

I believe in a different phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words are the deadliest poison.” A fancy way of saying that words are the worst possible weapons that a human being can use on another human being. It is almost ironic that the only species on Earth to actually wage wars is the only one that has the power of speech.

I wonder why people even ridicule any person or object that is different or outside of their comfort zone. It generally isn’t something that teachers or parents try to teach to their children. When I went from kindergarten straight to 2nd grade, I had people ridicule me for my height, my age, my brain, and even my nose, although looking back, I’m not quite sure what my nose has to do with my skipping a grade. Back then, the words stung a little, but I thought it was their way of accepting me, but as the years went by, and our age group began to grow, these blatant, joking teases turned into subtle, sarcastic insults, and in some cases, the essence of hate embodied in words.

And there’s the case of the classic insulting-someone-with-their-back-turned. I’ve had people insult me behind my back, and I mean literally behind my back. Once, two people apparently decided to have a secret conversation right behind me. It’s almost as if they’re afraid of the other person’s retaliation so they insult the person secretly without giving that person a chance to redeem him/herself in the eyes of the person who started the rumor and the ones who hear the rumors. What hurts me the most is that these people don’t seem to care how other people feel. Is our society so apathetic now that we’ve degraded into unfeeling, selfish creatures?

Sometimes I wish that when I was younger, I would’ve had the nerve to stand up to them and tell them what I thought of their insults. Since then, I’ve tried my hardest to adopt the Golden Rule, “treat others how you want others to treat you.” Just remember when somebody makes fun of you, resist the temptation to fight back, smile, and have a nice long laugh at yourself. I hope that these actions of happiness and strength in the face of acts of apathy or even hatred will eventually make the world a better place.