Friday, March 22, 2013
Slice 22: No Name Calling
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?