Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will break my heart!
How powerful a word can be. It can lift up or tear down. Words that we may think are simple and funny, can crush someone’s heart in an instant.
To you, it might be a funny way to describe a funny event or stupid decision. You might not mean any malice or hate. Simply making a statement. Not thinking anything of it.
When I hear that word, my heart breaks. I picture Jana in high school, walking down the busy hall. She might drop something, stumble into someone, and she hears it behind her. With snickers in their voice, “Look at the retard!” Her head drops and tears form in her eyes, but she keeps walking. She used to the harshness of her classmates who are uneducated and ignorant.
Do you feel her pain? Do you see how one word can destroy her entire day? That one word can bring her to her knees? Do you want to yell and scream at those who would do such a thing? Make them feel as low as they just made her? I know I do.
Yes, at one time in history this word was used to describe an individual with intellectual disabilities. Even today, we often find medical forms that still use it, But it became a word of hate. It became a word to knock down other’s who simply do not fit the perfect box of society.
By using this word in everyday conversation, it keeps it acceptable. It makes it ok to refer to someone who is different. It allows others to use it to bully, attack and destroy. So many words in our history have done the same thing. Words that are filled with hate, distance, and seclusion. Does this make it acceptable to continue to use them because our ancestors did? Of course not! We learn we grow, we develop and we understand that words hurt at times more than any stick or stone! Honestly, I was going to list some of these horrible words we once used openly in society, but I can’t. I know they cause pain to others, just like the R-Word causes pain to us.
Today is Spread the Word Day. Spread the Word to End the R-Word. We need to stop using this word so openly and regularly. I’ve shared in the past that I used it too. No, never to describe someone, but does that matter? It doesn’t make it any better. The word itself hurts. Not just individuals with DS like my Peanut, but anyone who was created differently.
So what are you going to do about it? Will you continue to spread hate and pain? Will you close your ears and ignore the destruction it causes? Or will you take a stand and pledge to help end this word? Will you help wipe away this word so that maybe one day, my Peanut will not have her heart broken when she hears it? Will you help spread love and acceptance, and not hostility and pain?
Please, head over to R-Word | Spread the Word to End the Word and take the pledge. Make a difference in this world. Make a difference to our Peanut. No child should ever feel degraded and worthless. Help make the world safe for them.