You probably heard it when you were a kid, too: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Our moms said this so that the merciless taunts might be forgotten. Though well-meaning, it’s just not true. A good friend, and frequent contributor to this blog, once amended the platitude: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will [expletive] up my life forever.”

Exhibit A consists of the many wounds we all still carry from all the times we’ve been derided, scorned, excluded, and shunned. Witness Exhibit B:
That was Peyton Manning, interviewed at the Pro Bowl in 2003 about Mike Vanderjagt, the then-kicker for his Indianapolis Colts. Vanderjagt had questioned Manning’s leadership ability on a Canadian TV show, and this was Manning’s frustrated response. A few seasons later, Vanderjagt was cut, and has been out of pro football ever since. The “liquored-up” tag has stuck. Vanderjagt even has a legal affadavit, signed by Manning, stating that his characterization of Vanderjagt as “liquored-up” was inaccurate. Details of Vanderjagt’s story since the incident can be found in a very well-written article HERE.
Suffice it to say, words are powerful. Sticks and stones may hurt, to be sure, but words can hurt, too, and the damage can last longer.