Oh, I know, my mother was not the first person to say that, but she is the first person to tell it to me. I did do an online search for the saying’s origin, but that was inconclusive, as I discovered several different people were given credit as the creator of the phrase. Wikipedia, however, had the best description of the quote – “Sticks and Stones is an English language children’s rhyme. The rhyme persuades the child victim of name-calling to ignore the taunt, to refrain from physical retaliation and to remain calm and good natured.”
I reckon I was somewhere around the age of 5 when mom first told this to me. At that time, words from the above definition, like persuades and retaliation, were not in my vocabulary, but I knew exactly what she meant. Do not listen to what they say and do not get into a fight just because someone says something bad about you.
Has the sticks and stones children’s rhyme changed in the last few decades? People seem to be effortlessly offended and quick to threaten sticks and stones. The rhyme must now go something like this, “Names will always hurt you. Sticks, stones, and lawsuits, you must do.”
In a weak attempt to segue into my point, let me say this – the holiday season is rapidly approaching. I am surprised that a serious, concentrated effort has not been made to get Christmas off the list of federal holidays. You know with all the uproar about the separation of church and state. Maybe it is because Christmas has become such a commercial day instead of a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
As I thought about these things I realized that Christmas might not be the only federal holiday people would have an offence with, so I have come up with reason to abolish them all.
This list you are about to read is satire. It is intended to use humor to show that something is absurd, but I do this with the fear that someone who reads the following list will think it is a good idea.
• New Years Day – This holiday insults everyone that wants to live in the past.
• Martin Luther King Jr. Day – This is the most challenging on the list because this day offends racists and they are the bad guys, so we should not remove it. However, as time moves on, it appears that the truly American thing to do is erase or change history as much as possible, so this day must go like the others.
• President’s Day – This offends anyone who voted for someone who is not the president.
• Memorial Day – This is an offense to all Alzheimer victims.
• Independence Day – This holiday is offensive to all the nations that wished we did not exist, not to mention socialist and communists.
• Labor Day – This is a huge offense to those who refuse to work and feel entitled to a paycheck.
• Columbus Day – Even though Columbus never made it to American soil, this day apparently offends everyone who has ever been oppressed, or at least that is the narrative we have heard for several decades. Also, this day insults all Vikings because Leif Erickson has never received the credit he deserves.
• Veteran’s Day – This day is an offense to all those who love all the rights and privileges of living in America but loathe the men and women willing to leave their families and die for them to enjoy such privileges.
• Thanksgiving Day – A day set aside to give thanks to God; apparently, this day offends all that believe God and the government should never mix.
• Christmas Day – Thanksgiving may be about God, but Christmas is all about Christ; to some people there can be nothing more offensive.
There it is, a reason to abolish all American holidays.
I will end by repeating my mom’s quote and a verse from scripture.
“Sticks and stones may break your bones, but names will never hurt you,” said my mom.
Psalm 119:165 says, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”
Preacher Tim Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Ind. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit preacherjohnson.com.