Between A Rock and Deer Place

Deer Raymond,

Lately it seems like everyone is so rude or mean to everyone else. People call each other names, say unfair things, or just really use words that hurt each other. Some people I really care about have used words to hurt me. It feels like we are a whole culture that just wants to throw rocks at each other

I try to be kind, even though I’m also really hurt. But, really, I don’t know what to do about this.

Signed,

Bruised in Blountville

Dear Blue,

I’m sorry this is happening to you, and I’m sorry it’s happening in the world. You know what the weird part is? When you talk to people individually and say, “Would you like to live in a place where people call names and bully other people?” They always say, “No!”

See – most people don’t really want it to be this way, they just get caught up in what others are doing. Soon, the whole world is full of rocks.

There are two things to do when you see other people, even teachers or leaders, bullying others or calling them names. First, it’s okay to say, “That’s not helpful” or “That’s not appropriate.” Don’t get in a fight about what they are saying, there’s no point. Until we stop hurting each other, we can’t really listen to each other – so getting into the right and wrong of it just keeps the cycle going. Simply let them know the way they are saying things is hurtful and you can’t really lsten or have a discussion until that changes.

The second thing to do is figure out what to do with all the stones that were thrown at you. See, when I was just a young deer learning to fly, I made a lot of mistakes and fell down a lot. There was this other guy who had been flying for a long time and he started saying things like “Way to go Sidewalk Stan” or “You should deliver pizza cause you end up flat.” It really bothered me.

Then, one day my flight coach told me s story about this little deer who had to work really hard to learn how to take off. He would wind up with his antlers stick in trees, and almost went off a cliff. All the other deer teased him. Guess what? It was that guy! See – he still had all those rocks that had been thrown at him, so he was just throwing them at someone else. That doesn’t make it okay – he should learn to do something else with them, but it helps explain it.

What can you do when people throw rocks at you? Build something out of them. Like a deep well that goes to your heart and helps you know what they are saying is wrong and you are worthy and loved. Or maybe a ladder that you can use for motivation to say better words and bring more hope to the world. Or maybe a bridge – so you can connect with supportive people who can help with your wounds and feelings.

The truth is, words are like anything else in the world – they can be weapons or they can be tools. You don’t get to choose the words others use (you can choose not to listen) but you do get to choose what you do with them.

Your building buddy,

Raymond

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