The other day my son came home from school for lunch and it was very clear to me that something was bothering him. I asked him if everything was ok and he said that some students at his school had hurt his feelings.
The Mama bear in me almost immediately saw red but I took a very deep breath and asked him to tell me what happened. He was waiting outside one of the classroom’s for his friend that he walks home with. Apparently another friend walked by and they laughed at each other and “dabbed”. (If you aren’t sure what dabbing is, here is a link to a picture of my son “dabbing”). From what I understand is there were two older students standing nearby and hollered over to my son that he “better be careful because causes cancer”.
My son obviously understands what they said is not even remotely true but what those two student did not know is that my son lost his parternal grandmother earlier this year to cancer and my Mom herself has had struggled with cancer. And hearing those words upset him.
What these two said to my son was mean and completely insensitive and not a topic you should be joking about in any shape or form, but in all, the actually story of what happened isn’t what is important here. What is important is that people, regardless of their age need to understand that their words can hurt. It may not be intentional, it may not have meant to be malicious but you never know what people are going through in their personal lives that you don’t know about and words can sting just as much as a slap across the face.
I learned my lesson years ago when I kept “joking” with a friend about why he and his wife hadn’t had a baby yet. They had been married several years at that point, so why not get started? Little did I know that he and his wife were unable to conceive their own child. Until that moment when that friend pulled me aside, I had no idea that my words were hurtful and I was completely unaware of it. So from that point on, it made me very mindful about the things that I say to people out of jest or for any matter that is.
Teaching our children to be mindful of their words and that saying insensitive things can really hurt someone’s feelings is really something that I think is important. I look at some things that are said on social media these days and I really think that the old saying of “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” that our grandparents/parents taught us needs to make a comeback. Words are thrown around like a basketball without people really thinking about the hurt and upset they are causing others.
Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind always. – Ian Maclaren