Watching our Language


When growing up there was an old adage we used to sing about name calling.  We would sing that “sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me”.  At the time we may have thought it to be true.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  Name calling is probably even worse than being pelted with sticks or stones.  The damage that occurs emotionally is every bit as that caused to us physically.

Definitely words that might even have once been used “innocently” (without a sense of malice or with a lack of understanding) can and do hurt.  I would not even think of using the “N” word.  More recently, the “R” has been added to my list.  Sadly, the “F” word has become very common place in today’s world.

Regardless, words used to describe another person as opposed to words that are just used for the sake of emphasis are important for us all to consider.  It is not a matter of political correctness not to call other people by derogatory names.  Rather, it has to do with respect.

Some believe that all creatures have the right to be respected, not just people, but animals and elements of our environment.  It goes without saying that if we can’t respect other humans that we will likely not be respectful of other elements.  I have also met people who find it easier to kinder to animals and plant life and even objects such as stones, that other people because of how we as humans have abused creation.

When asked we have found many excuses to explain away our sense of abuse.  Some will even play the religion card saying that the Bible tells us to have “dominion” over other creatures.  Of course, there is a great difference between dominion and abuse.  It was from the Spiderman movie that we are told:  “with great power comes great responsibility”.  To be given dominion over something calls for us to care for, to be good stewards and not use our power for our own good.

All of us are responsible for what happens to each other and all of creation.  Sadly, it seems to our leadership (often those elected) that they are torn between economics and ecology.  We need to do better at both.