• Jen Miller

Sticks & Stones Can Break Our Bones, And Our Words And Actions Can Hurt, Too.

Updated: May 18

“Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you…unless you believe them. Then, they can destroy you.” This old adage was used as a comeback when someone would say something mean to you. As a kid, I remember saying this a lot when someone hurt my feelings. So, in essence, not only was I lying to the person that hurt me but, most importantly, to myself. When I became a mom, I realized that this saying was a BIG, fat lie. If I taught my kids to say this, I'm telling them that unkind words don't hurt your feelings. I didn't feel better when I said it, so why did I say it? Unfortunately, I learned a poor coping skill to guard my feelings, but it didn't. It just masks our hurt hearts and fuels our anger. 

Words DO hurt, ESPECIALLY when it comes from someone we profoundly LOVE.

Monday night:

Here's my confession from a few nights ago, when I was not the best version of myself. Let me explain the picture to the left—crumpled and crushed hearts. After reliving an episode that seemed to be a rerun in my house, I was exhausted. Let me be REAL with you and say that I was not the best mama I could have been for one of my sons. After refereeing some unrelatable situations between my other two before dinner, let's say I was done. I had to use my humor to diffuse one situation, give a chance for a do-over to another son, and prepare dinner, all the while keeping everyone in separate rooms. Then this happened. Everyone was supposed to help out after dinner, and one of my darlings decided that he did not have to. After discussing some possible consequences, things escalated pretty quickly, and my crushed little boy crumpled all the hearts I had made him. I reacted instead of responding to what was the real issue. I definitely could have handled things better, but the human side of me got the best of me. What I could not see was why he was angry. He was confused. He thought he did not need help because he had done his jobs already. He was hurt and sad because I was upset with him. After some time cooling down, we apologized to one another. My son brought me his crumpled hearts and asked me to fix them. I told him I could fix them, but what was said and done could not be erased. We only can be a better version of ourselves tomorrow. I was disappointed in myself and my reaction. I'm thankful for the grace my children give me daily, even when I feel I don't deserve it. I need to remember to give it more to myself and my children.

Tuesday morning:

The following day I was so blessed by the grace of God to be given a second chance to be a better version of myself from the day before!

Some of you may not agree with me about rewriting new hearts for my son.

Some of you may think that he should have written them himself.

Some of you may think that I should have just made him one for today and so on for the remainder of this month.

Some of you would have done what I did.

How do I know what some of you are thinking? It's because this is the advice I've already gotten from people that are close to me. So, here it is. What do I want my son to learn from this?

There are second chances to do better each second, minute, hour, and day. It is a blessing.

I want him to know that I love him unconditionally.

I want him to know how vital these love notes are to him.

I want him to know that I forgive him.

I want him to know that I'm so happy he has forgiven me.

I want him to know that he matters so much to me.

I'm the adult in this situation. I would be acting like a child if I did not soften my heart to model what forgiveness looks like to my son.

If given a second chance, take it and prioritize being a better version of yourself.


When my son got home from school, I told him I had fixed his hearts. He hugged me, kissed me, told me "thank you," and hurried up the stairs to admire them and read his new ones. THIS...This is why I chose to remake them for him.

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