Friday, March 22, 2013

Slice 22: No Name Calling

When I went to the elementary school on Thursday is I discovered that there is name-calling in third grade extended-day, not a pandemic, but still hurtful.  

When I named my daughter Hope after Hope Yancey in Joan Bauer's book Hope was Here, I intentionally thought of all the rhymes that you could attach to it, dope, rope, mope, etc.  Last night Hope shared that some third graders were calling her Hope PePee, a variation of her last name, Fefee.  My automatic reaction was to laugh. I don't. Really I thought?  I hadn't thought to rhyme her last name with anything.  In hindsight, maybe I should have bequeathed her my last name since there is nothing that rhymes well with it.

My husband immediately jumped in and said kids did that to him when he was little too. I do remember being called "snaggle tooth" because I had vampire teeth before braces.  (My canines had too little room to move in). At work today, my friends recounted the names that they had been called at school.  I won't share them here, but they remembered.  Words do hurt and they linger.

It is best to arm her in the ways of the world by talking about it with her and her teacher as well as giving her a lens to look through at it from an arms-length by reading Spinelli's Loser together.  Name-calling is one layer of bullying and I can't change her name now only help her figure out how to handle it.

How do you handle name-calling and bullying in your classroom or with your children?


  1. We just never know what will be used to hurt our children, do we? Love that your husband "immediately jumped in" - something about the way you expressed that made me feel his empathic emotion for his daughter! "Words do hurt and they linger." Seems like we should all know this by now and be done with this for all of history!!

  2. Mine was Erin DORKO... but my friends were the ones who said it. Also, don't be so sure about your name. I call you Beth Scantron behind your back. :D

    1. Dork-o! Good one. I like Christmas...: ) My mom has a friend visiting from Washington State and she's been asking this week about the difference between bullying and teasing. I said duration, intent and degree for starters. What do you think?

  3. Name calling hurts. Your response to your daughter is important. Treating all mistreatment seriously opens doors of communication. You have got me thinking tonight. Thank you. By the way, I love the heading on your Blog. Words--both positive and negative linger. Tonight your words about balance will linger with me.

  4. I didn't even need a nickname with the last name Beavers. Especially since there was a Nickelodeon show called "Angry Beavers" at that time. Coincidentally, the names that adults call me now are the same ones I had when I was a kid. It doesn't actually bother me though. I think it helped with my sense of humor though because I own it on every first day of school with an animal reference. I'm glad he jumped in! Knowing that my dad and his siblings grew up with it too really helped me.


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