Sticks and Stones

“I’m raising my kid to be a world leader, not a fry cook.”

These were the words that were stuck in my head as I attempted to finish the remaining 7 hours of my shift. I’m a cashier, and one of the things I hate most about working in retail is the “The customer’s always right” mentality you’re forced to have. The customer is, in fact, wrong most of the time, but even when they are the only thing you can do is smile with them and agree. But, what do you do when someone says something that makes your blood boil beyond self-control? When I heard this man utter these words, mine almost did. You’re probably wondering what the bolded sentence above sentence even means, so maybe it’s best I start from the beginning.

Today, at work, a man in my line was expressing his utter disgust for public schooling systems. He then went on to further express his disdain by saying that he could never imagine having the mere thought of allowing his child to attend the monstrosity they refer to as public school. A lady near him agreed, and supported his claim adding that she only sent her children to private schools because the public school system was such a mess. I, having attended public school my entire life, felt extremely offended by these presumptuous statements and felt I had to interject. “Well,” I said. “I’ve gone to public schools my entire life, and I turned out fine. I’m actually graduating college this semester.” That is when this man said the sentence that refused to leave my mind all day. Smugly, he answered, “I’m raising my kid to be a world leader, not a fry cook.”. And, with that, he swiftly snatched his receipt and left the store.

In my first post, I said that one of the most important things we can do as twenty-somethings is not care about what other people think, and worry about what is best for ourselves. I knew that shouldn’t have cared about what this stranger thought about my level of education, or that he indirectly insulted me, but I did. I cared for every hour that remained of my shift. It’s easy to let people’s thoughts about who we are influence the way we see and feel about ourselves even when they don’t know us personally. When this happens it’s important to keep a few things in mind.

Remember who you are

In less than a second, one stranger made me feel as though I was less than because of the types of schools I went to. I am a college educated young woman. I know that I am intelligent, and someone else’s words should never make me forget that. While fuming over what had happened, I had to take time to remind myself that success comes from all backgrounds and types of people. The person who was truly lacking in knowledge wasn’t me, it was him. Always remember the person you are before letting the words of another change your perspective.

People aren’t always going to blow smoke up your…you know

Human beings can be cruel. We are not always nice to one another, and everyone we encounter isn’t going to tell us stories about rainbows and ponies. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that some people genuinely enjoy feeding off the misery of others. Because of this, they will do whatever it takes to break you, or attempt to hurt you emotionally. This could be in either the form of cruel words, actions, or sometimes both. It’s important to remember that these people have larger issues within and are only doing these things in attempt to feel better about themselves. The best thing to do with people like this, is to ignore them. Never give them the satisfaction of seeing you sweat.

Words don’t define you 

Remember that saying from kindergarten “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me?”. Ok, so maybe that wasn’t completely true, sometimes words can hurt you but they don’t define who you are. I was hurt by the statements this man made, who knew nothing about me, but did that mean they were true? Of course not. At the end of the day, you know who you are and should feel comfortable living in your skin unapologetically. Never let the words, or ignorance, of another make you feel ashamed or uncomfortable about who you are.

 

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3 Comments

  1. I wish people led with a kind word, rather than negativity. We can be so much better than this default to disdain. I love the motivation in your post. “When they go low, we go high” isn’t easy, but it makes us better. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t help but feel pity for the child that this man is raising. He or she is going to have to live under the burden of his parents’ unfulfilled ambitions for himself ( perhaps impressed upon him by his own father .) The child’s individuality and dreams will be oppressed and discounted by the angst that this parent won’t let go of. In the bigger picture , I think the child is a tragic figure.

    Liked by 1 person

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