"I'm rubber and you're glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you."
Remember that? I recall hearing it early in elementary school. I am not sure who said it or where it came from but we hear it so often that we might be tempted to believe it. However, it is a complete lie.
Words stick. Everyone is glue. Whatever we say and whatever is said to us, no matter how much we want to act like words don't stay with us, they do.
It's easy to say something incredibly stupid in the heat of the moment and then expect to be allowed to take it back. You can try to take it back and you can be forgiven but what you said will stick with people regardless and can have impacts that we can't even begin to understand
We should always be aware of this each time we are going to speak. I don't know if it is wisdom in my older age or just the fact that I've opened mouth and inserted foot so many times over the years that I find myself saying less and less and listening more and more. Maybe it's laziness that makes me more reluctant to jump into confrontations with people. Maybe it's the knowledge that confrontations don't change much for the better. Maybe it's the realization that the old quote from the movie WarGames was right - the only winning move is not to play.
We had a meeting at our local high school last night about words, said aloud and posted online, and how those words are used to bully, hurt, and exclude people. Looking around the room, it was apparent that the ones that really needed the lesson were not in attendance. Only those seeking change and answers were present and this is not surprising.
It was mentioned that we've all played the roles of both victim and perpetrator over the years and that it's time to just be nice. Just be nice. It sounds simple but it is anything but in a world where the war of words is fought in real time, 24/7, right on our phones by a mix of millions of potential spectators, perpetrators and victims.