By Sonya Laughlin,
“Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”
If only that statement were true. Every day at Tupelo Children’s Mansion we see the results of not only physical abuse, but abusive words that have made these children not believe in themselves and also not believe in their role models.
We, as Christian parents, go to great lengths to instill confidence and character in our children and sometimes we are amazed at how even our own children have to be constantly reminded of how wonderful they are, and how honored we are to be their parents. The precious children at TCM have not had that luxury, and oftentimes, you can see it in their eyes and in their every action.
I will never forget one evening as I was leaving a boy’s residence hall for the night as I gave all of the little boys a hug and told them that I loved them. One of the younger boys who was 6 at the time, said, “Yeah right!” Can you imagine your own children not knowing that you love them? That a child of 6 could be as cynical as to believe that he is unlovable?
I walked over to him and reassured him that I did indeed love him. He wrapped his arms around my neck and asked, “Will you be here tomorrow too?” This is just one, isolated incident that is indicative of what we see every day at TCM. This is not to invoke sadness, but rather joy in knowing that these children are being loved, hugged, and ministered to each and every day by someone.
My husband and I have been blessed to be employed by TCM for over 16 years now, and I can say with all honesty, that it never gets old and I still hear stories that make me cry more often than should be experienced.
Sticks and stones do break bones and words can hurt far more than realized. Let your words bring encouragement and love. Let your words offer a boost of self-confidence by telling children how beautiful they are and how special they are to you. When you see their face light up with that knowledge, you will forevermore be changed.