Sticks and Stones will Break my Bones, but Names will Never Hurt me!

That was a popular phrase in the 1950s, when I grew up.  “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”  That’s how we were taught to respond to name-calling back at a time when personal freedom and independence were revered values.  The message was that you alone were responsible for your own behavior and you should learn to ignore others who call you names.  They can’t hurt you!  Again, because you alone are responsible for how you feel.


Today, however, the view has changed.  “If you don’t feel good, it’s not your fault,” the ads say.  Take a pill and you’ll feel better.   And if someone calls you names, call the authorities, don’t stand up for yourself.  This attitude was fostered by President Obama’s “You didn’t build that business” assertion.  Unfortunately it permeates our society today as does dependence on the government or substances to feel better and somehow live better.  Now, with some in the medical community referring to obesity as a disease, it is another nail in the coffin of personal responsibility.


Folks, you’re not responsible for your own weight, it is a disease!  Eat up and pig out!!  It’s not your fault… And for those of you who live in New York City and are incapable of controlling yourselves, your Mayor wants to outlaw 32 ounce drinks, so you don’t have to make a choice.  The government will legislate (make) the choice for you!


Ironically, in 1978, the ninety-fifth congress of the United States of America published a report entitled, THE FUTURE OF SMALL BUSINESS IN AMERICA. (Report No. 95-1810).  In Chapter 3 was the following quote:  “This country’s small business people are believers in the rights and responsibilities of citizens, and strong participants in the spirit of independence on which this Nation was founded and with which it must continue to prosper. Our small business leaders are those who can and do create new methods of solving problems. Their high regard in local and national communities is not so much a result of their business role as much as their willingness to break new ground, maintain the virtues of freedom and independence and “do their own thing.”


We all make choices in life.  We decide how hard we want to work, how many hours we want to put into our careers, and how much we want to study.  We decide what and how much food we want to eat.  It is not someone else or something else that makes us successful, happy, fulfilled, or fat: it is our choice.  It is our responsibility, not the government’s, or anyone else’s.  “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me!”


© 2013  Steven M. Stroum


Steve Stroum

Steve Stroum

Steven M. Stroum, founder and president of Venmark International is a seasoned publicist, marketer, and entrepreneur who has been featured in INC Magazine, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, Industrial Marketing, OMNI Magazine, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, The Middlesex News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other media outlets. He has also appeared on numerous radio and television programs, addressed many business and civic groups, and been a guest lecturer at Boston College, Babson College, MIT, and his alma mater Northeastern University.

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