Monday, January 25, 2010

Sticks and Stones

The other day, I was watching Momisms, Anita Renfroe's breathless three-minute riff on things Moms say to their kids -- set to the William Tell Overture. And as I listened, I heard in her words the words of my mom -- and of my daughter. It's fascinating, isn't it, that no matter how hard we work at not turning into our parents, how often we end up sounding like them, and how inevitably we pass their advice -- both good and bad -- down to the next generation.

One of my Mom's favorite momisms was "Sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you." It never made sense to me. Even as a child, I knew that words could -- and often did -- hurt. But that didn't stop me from repeating the inane bromide years later when confronted with my own bickering children..."Mooooom. He said I was...She said I was...He called me...."

"Enough! Sticks and stones might break your bones, but words will never hurt you."

I was reminded again of that particular momism when I read about a campaign called Spread the Word to End the Word. If you're not yet familiar with "Spread the Word," it's an initiative of Special Olympics and Best Buddy International to eliminate the use of the word "retard(ed)" in everyday speech by asking people to sign an online pledge to never use the r-word again. The goal is 100,00 pledges. Today's total is 51,669. Have you taken the pledge yet? If not, March 3, 2010, is "Spread the Word to End the Word" Awareness Day. Get the toolkit and use it to raise awareness in your classroom and in your school. And then take the pledge with your students. Let's make sure that the r-word, at least, is one word that doesn't hurt anyone again.

Speaking of the Olympics (and video), be sure to check out The Science of the Olympic Winter Games, a 16-part video series from NBC Learn and the National Science Foundation. Narrated by NBC News anchor Lester Holt, the free videos make science more accessible to students by illustrating how scientific principles apply to competitive sports.

FYI: NBC is broadcasting the Olympic Winter Games from Vancouver, Canada, February 12-28, 2010. The USA National Special Olympics Games will be held July 18-23, 2010 in Nebraska.

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