This I Believe

Brinley - Heber City, Utah
Entered on December 14, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: tolerance

Sticks, Stones, and Words

The person who said, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words don’t hurt me,” must have been deaf. Words can hurt. What others say can impact your decisions both short and long term.

When I was in fifth grade, my teacher announced that we would be holding a school talent show. We were to try out and be judged by our classmates before three lucky people were chosen to be in the actual talent show. The day of auditions my whole class went to the auditorium to watch our classmates. A few kids went by, and it was then time for a group of Mexicans to preform their dance. As soon as they stepped on the stage, my friends immediately started loudly snickering comments like, “Do they honestly think they’re good enough to be in our talent show?” and, “Well, we obviously know who isn’t going to make it.”

I was shocked to hear my friends say that. They hadn’t even seen the performance to know if they were good or not. They prejudged them because they were Mexican. They thought that they didn’t have any talents worth sharing. I felt ashamed and embarrassed to be standing next to my so-called “friends.”

After everyone had preformed their talent, we went back to our classroom. My teacher handed out grading sheets for us to fill out. All of my “friends” gave the group of Mexicans “0’s”. And because my friends were being so rude and the group of Mexicans had done a good job, I gave them the highest possible score.

I sat next to the group of Mexicans, and one of them was so sad and embarrassed because of what my “friends” had said that she gave herself all “0’s”. Her friends looked hurt and still even a little hopeful. She told them that she didn’t want to be in the show anymore. That she didn’t want to be made fun of.

This group didn’t make it into the talent show. And what my “friends” said will stick with them for the rest of their lives. I still see some of the Mexicans that were in that group, and they aren’t as sure of themselves as they used to be. We don’t have the right to take away someone’s confidence. And, we can do that just by what we say. Words can hurt even more that sticks and stones.