A Modern Day Fairy Tale: Sticks & Stones {Spread the Word to End the Word}

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sticks & Stones {Spread the Word to End the Word}

We've all heard the old saying, "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me." But let's be honest, words DO hurt...more than anything. And in my world, there is one that is more hurtful than all the rest- the r word.

Be honest, how many of you reading this have used the word in casual conversation? "That movie was so r*****d" or "I'm such a r*****". Like many, you're probably reading this thinking and wondering what the big deal is. You don't mean anything harmful by it. It wasn't directed towards anyone truly affected by a developmental disability, nor do you have anything against them. It's 'just a word'.

Now let me ask you this, how many of you would also use the n-word? Or other racial/homosexual slurs? Of course not. Those words are unacceptable by most. Yet to so many of us, the r word is just the same, so why is it still accepted? The reality is, it shouldn't be!

Think about it this way- when you say the phrase "I'm such a r*****"...what are you really saying? Are you saying you are awesome, amazing, loveable? No...chances are you're referring to something you did that was dumb, mindless, clumsy, less than. And to do so, you are putting down a whole population of individuals with developmental disabilities by using a word that was at one time used as a diagnosis- for individuals like my brother, diagnosed with mental retardation and suspected Autism. You are reaffirming the idea that those who deal with developmental delays, like my son, are somehow less than everyone else. You are saying that the sweet little buy with Down Syndrome somehow deserves less respect because of the way he was born. You might not mean anything by it, but regardless of intention, our words have an impact.

Today, March 5, 2014 is the annual day of awareness for Spread the Word to End the Word- a wonderful cause that I passionately support- whose mission is to change how we view the r-word. To show us that it is insulting and unacceptable, and to challenge others to pledge to stop using the word. The reality is, most who use it honestly DON'T mean anything by it, they just don't know any better...and they won't until someone speaks up about it.

Some may argue that this is all about political correctness, or goes against freedom of speech, but this is about neither. This is about RESPECT. My hope is for my son to live in a world that accepts and embraces him for his differences. A world that can look beyond a diagnosis, beyond his special needs and see the amazing little boy that I see each and every day. I pray that he is given the respect that EVERYONE deserves. To do that, we must first change the way we think of those with special needs, and the r-word is a great place to start.

So today, I challenge each and every one of you to consider taking the pledge to eliminate the r-word from your everyday language, and to share with others. You can find more about Spread the Word to End the Word here.


  1. I love this and this is true! people do not notice the impact their words can have on others even if unintentional. I took the pledge and we def do not use those words in our household!

  2. I think this is a wonderful campaign to bring awareness. I used to say the word years ago and realized how inappropriate it is, whether intentional or not. I agree that the word needs to be eliminated from everyone's vocabulary.


"Pleasant words are as a honeycomb: sweet to the soul and health to the bones." Proverbs 16:24