Because Sometimes Words Need to Be Buried Under Cow Poop


… sorry, I know that title is not “ladylike” but I’m stepping onto the soapbox today, and this ain’t gonna be pretty…

As soon as I saw my son after school last week, I knew something was wrong. He avoided my eyes and stepped quietly into the car.

Our usual hugs and welcome was sidestepped and he blinked back silent tears…

Are you okay? Is something wrong? Are you sick?” I asked. He only responded by closing his eyes tight and shaking his head no.

“Did someone say something mean to you?”, I asked… knowing at that very moment that it had happened.

He slowly nodded yes, and the floodgates of tears opened and washed down his flushed cheeks. He wouldn’t tell me what was said, but he was crying as hard as I have ever seen him cry.

…sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me…


Because I don’t agree.

It turns out that a boy said my son’s “crooked teeth make him ugly“.




It echoed in my heart as he spoke the words. The look on his face told me that not only did it hurt when it was said, but that in hearing it, my son had accepted the words as truth.

Now I know kids will be mean and say hurtful things. I am no stranger to this sad fact of life. When he related these words to me, I immediately was back in junior high, as the one being made fun of for my looks in front of a whole class of children, while everyone laughed along with the one doing the taunting. The boy I had the crush on, my “best friend”, everyone… laughing.

… not laughing with me, but laughing at me.

I remember how my hands shook, face burning with embarrassment,  and how I wanted to crawl under my desk and hide.

As much as it hurt to be made fun of myself, seeing my son go through the same thing was far worse. I ached for him and wanted to cry with him.

“I hate how I look”, my son weeped. “I wish I had never been born!

And with that sentence, something inside me snapped.

I pulled over our minivan, and we had an honest conversation about deadly words. I explained to him that his worth is based on far more than a couple teeth that aren’t standing in perfect lines. His life and potential, (this sweet, smart, wity, special, amazing boy!) has absolutely nothing to do with the outside shell, although it is beautiful as well.

Then I realized that I still replay my own torment over and over in my head as if somehow by replaying it, I will become “used to” the words and they won’t sting as much as they did. But deep inside, if I’m really being honest, I have owned these words. I have sheltered them in my locket, wrapped around my neck, like a treasure.

Isn’t that the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard? I’m just being honest.

This little treasure of mean words had become my “escape route”. If a boy didn’t like me, I didn’t let it hurt me because one look at my treasure of mean words reminded me that I am not the “pretty one”. If my husband and I got into an argument, I immediately resorted to thoughts like “well, he should have married her because she’s better”. And on… and on… and on…..

It’s nauseating now that I think about it.

I took my son’s hands and clasped them together, as if he held these mean words in his hands. “Isaac”, I said, “Are the words this child said to you true? Do they define who you are? Is your life limited to words about crooked teeth or do you mean more?”

… and I was talking to me too.

What do you do with these words in your hands, sweet boy?” I asked him, wiping the tears from his cheeks. “Do you want to hold on to them forever as the truth, as a treasure that you should always keep and protect? Or, do you want to reject them and call them lies? Do you want to forgive a child for speaking unkindly and know that you are worth far more than these words? Do you want to throw them away?”

He looked up at me with a gleam of hope and replied, “I want to throw them away, Mommy”.

We pretended to ball up the words and hold them in his hand. As he started to throw then, I glanced over at the cow pasture next to the road.

“Right there!” I told him as I pointed. “I want you to aim right there and throw those words right in that cow poop, because that’s where they belong!”

He laughed as he aimed for a cow pie.

Satan has discouraged my heart for far too long with words, so I threw my memories there too, and mentally covered the top with cow poop too. That’s where the lies can stay. This is where the discouragement stops. I won’t be tormented by unkind words said (and probably forgotten) by some junior high kid going through his own issues… and I will not let my child hate himself because of words and lies.

I will not.

Satan, take notice, because this mad mama will fight for her son’s spirit until my dying breath.

So take that to the bank.

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” ~ Eph 6:12

What lies are you believing? How long will it last? When do we take back the power from Satan to discourage our hearts, and tell him in a loud and clear voice that we can do ALL things through Christ who gives us strength? That our worth is found in Him? That Satan cannot distract us from the potential and power we have in Christ — not today, not tomorrow, not next week.

We are not playing his game, and if cow poop has to be involved, then so be it.

Do you have lies you still believe that need to be buried under cow poop? Have you talked with your child about bullying and that words may hurt?

  • Amy Pierce

    Great post that I know everyone can relate to. Tell Isaac that he is a super handsome boy :) Physical appearance can be changed, but bully’s ugly personalities will stick around!

  • Jodi

    I don’t think I hold onto them per say, but I do think that words shaped me into the adult that I am today.

    Sometimes I react to situations the way I wish others had reacted for me. Does that make sense?

    You were very wise with your boy, I hope those cow patties are deep. :-)

  • Trish

    Just reading that I went into protective momma bear mode. What a great analogy to share with him, what a blessing you are for that boy.

  • Cindy

    Thank you for sharing these thoughts, Melanie. There is much truth in them. I want to own the truth and not the lies. I am reminded that God looks at the heart, not the outward man. We must do that, too. I too often look at the outward and make judgements now knowing the person at all. :( Father, God, help me. I want to love as You do.

  • Phil

    Good post! What you told your son is spot on. Myself and my younger brother are dwarfs, I didn’t used to get much trouble in school, but my brother did. Mostly in high school… The school kids used to take his wallet and put it in places he could not reach, he also had a knife thrown at him at one point, all because he was smaller than everyone else.

    Today he has a great testimony that he shares with many groups of children who have been bullied, or are still being bullied.

    Physical appearance means nothing in God’s eyes… He can use anyone he wants to use. It’s what’s on the inside that counts. =]

    Thanks for sharing!

  • vernette

    Melanie, you are such a wise mama bear. May God continue to Bless you with wisdom as you raise a man of God.

    I needed to read that piece of scripture for myself today. I’ve been feeling like I’m being tested over and over and I will not give in to Satan and doubt that my Father in heaven loves me and guides my steps. Satan goes under that cow-poop!

  • Helen Tisdale

    Melanie, Your post is so nice today! I am sorry that you & your son had to go through this experience; however we learn so much because of them! I can feel your heart Melanie, just wanting to take the pain for your son. It so resignated with me because of an experience with my grandaughter last week, where someone wanted to fight her! Then your sweet words reminded me of the lies I continually believe from the enemy! I so agree with your analogy of the “cow poop!” I’m gonna remember that one!

  • Piper

    Ouch! The lies that still haunt me come forth like rushing water at times. And teaching our children that they are worth more than any spoken word is hard. We would LOVE it if …sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me…were really true. Words spoken are like too much toothpaste that you can’t get back into the tube. Its messy and you can NEVER get those words back, even if you didn’t really mean them. Love that you shared this, because it happens daily in our mean mean world. The Mama Bear comes out in me, even for a someone else’s child. Just last week a 6th grader (with some learning disabilities) in our children’s ministry mentioned girls being mean to her and I just wanted to go beat them up!~ HAA!!!

  • Kelly Guenther

    What a great post! I wanted to cry. Kids can be so mean but grown ups can be just as mean as well. Words can be so hurtful. It is so important we don’t let them define us or our children when these things happen. Loved reading this.

  • Stacey

    Amen Amen AMEN!!!!!!!! Great post!!!!! And hugs to you and your sweet, handsome little boy!!!!!!

    Blessings to you both!!

  • anna {}

    I absolutely adore you, friend. This post made me teary and laugh, all at once. Hoping the words you spoke to your dear boy spoke to your dear heart as well. Lots of love to you today!

  • Suzanne McClendon

    Your post made me cry…for your little one, for you…and for me. I remember all too well being tormented, called “ugly”, “dog”,”skag”, “four eyes” and a hundred other mean things as a child. I’ve held onto those lies for so long that I don’t know how to let go and truly accept that I am made in His image and He is beautiful. He loves me, honker nose, short stature, “full-back” and all.

    I am so sorry that someone was mean to your little guy. Like another commenter said, it put me in mad mama mode, too!

    I don’t know how making someone else so miserable can feel the least bit good to anybody. They jab, they sting, they word the life out of someone else and then have the nerve to get on with their own lives like nothing is wrong. They are free, forgetting what they’ve done to us while we’re trapped in the bondage of their stinging words, being shaped by their lies, conforming to the wrong mold. I am so happy that Isaac has a wise mama that is pointing him toward the right mold, the in His image mold. He is a beautiful child blessed with a beautiful mama.

  • Lisa

    Yes and amen! (That is all) :)

  • amanda

    I have held on to words, it’s hard to let them completely go. Thanks for sharing this. I love how you talked to your son about this. Love throwing them away (or into cow pies :). be blessed and thank you for sharing your heart.

  • Linda

    Awww this post touched my heart so deeply. I will try to remember it so that I can help others if the need arises. I think you handled it so well. I’m gonna think for awhile to see if I need to toss anything under those stinky cow patties…where I won’t dare fish them out and try to reclaim the hurt.

  • Diane Rivers

    I love how you taught the lesson to your son in a way a little boy could truly appreciate! He will never forget the word picture of burying mean words under cow poop and you know what? That image will serve him well! What a good mom you are.

  • julie ball

    Hurtful words definitely shaped my childhood and adulthood. They first came from others but then I began to use them on myself. (I wrote about that here: I purposely chose “listen” as my “one word” for 2013 because if I’m not vigilant about which inner voices I heed, the negative ones take over.

    I now have 2 sons, and one of them (he’s 8) is very sensitive. He worries. He carries burdens around. No one could know better than I how much he needs to learn to let them go, yet even I find myself at a loss as to how to to help him do that. So I just love your cow patty idea. He and I may have to make some special trips out in the country. :) Thanks for sharing!

  • Amanda Money

    Oh that first part just broke my heart. I love how you explained everything to him. I have a tender-hearted 3 year old, and I’m terrified of the first time this happens. I will definitely remember this. Thanks!

  • Mar@Emy Cooks

    Mommy, I am happy with the way you handle that with him. He needed your assurance of Love. Happy for sharing..much love!

  • Sarah

    I just love how the Lord heals us and refines us through the circumstances we are in. Thank you for your honesty, and your heart Melanie! :)

  • Loretta Musser

    Thank you for this beautiful real life happening! This is beautiful…

  • Karen

    Melanie: That post just spoke volumes to my heart! We too, have had some 2nd grade school drama. It was with a girl that spoke some unkind & rude words, daily for some time, about my daughter’s weight (she is insulin resistance & taller & bigger weight wise- than the other kids). I know I wanted to bust up in the 2nd grade recess time & spank that little girl’s bottom. Evidently, no one else was taking the time to. However, my daughter & I had a similar discussion about love, & how Jesus wants us to act no matter what other people are doing. And that she in no way should retaliate by being a bully herself. THANKFULLY, that little girl is not in her room this year. It’s just so hard to explain to these little ones how we have to deal with these type people, unfortunately, all our lives. That moment with your son was priceless. We just never know when we will have a teaching moment. That makes me want to keep Jesus close to my heart, more than ever. Just so I am ready! Hugs!

  • S. Kim Henson

    Love the title and the idea. I could see you and your son tossing the negativity away. Love that visual and I’m keeping it close by in case I need it. :)

  • Lynsey @MoscatoMom

    Oh gosh my oldest daughter went through this in 6th grade and I wish now I had handled it as eloquently as you did LOL It’s awful the things we hold on to – memories I have from past abusive relationships and experiences. What a perfect visual of how to “bury” them. This is great. Kudos, Mom.

  • jen sizemore

    I agree there are definetaly words that we shouldn’t use…and that we should teach our children not to use however having said that we should also teach our children people will say mean words and not to let it affect how they feel about themselves…We cannot change the world but we can change how our children react to it and sometimes they just need to be taught to toughen up a bit.

  • shannon

    YES! i’m dreading the day when this happens to us…but i’m stealing this and doing THIS EXACT SAME THING! :0)

    thank you for this post dear!

  • Maryann @ Matthew’s Puzzle

    Sometimes I wonder how God works because I think he sent me here for a reason. I found you through the blogging planner blog hop and I’m glad I did. thank.s

  • Grace

    Oh Melanie, my heart aches for your sweet little boy, and you are incredibly inspirational in knowing the right words to say to heal his heart and help him understand what really matters. I totally remember being the awkward, gangly, painfully shy adolescent who people referred to as chicken legs, and tonight on our walk by the cow pastures, I’m going to throw those words in a pile of dung too.

    Thank you Melanie for wearing your beautiful heart on your sleeve and being the inspiration you are!

  • Tracey Beers

    I thought you mis-typed when I read, “This little treasure of mean words had become my “escape route”. ” But then, I realized, I missed it all until then. How revealing to finally see my self-defense as a, “little treasure of mean words” that I still cling to, still believe, still hold up as the standard. Thank you, Melanie. Isaac has a keeper.

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  • Stephani

    Melanie, I am just going through some of your posts, and this one caught my eye. I’m fighting back a big lump in my through. Your sensitivity to your son’s needs and your use of a teachable moment are so touching!