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  1. Once when I was in first grade, I was sitting at my desk in class, my hands open and palm side down on the desk. I hadn’t noticed how or where my hands were until the boy in front of me turned around and said “fat fingers”. When I looked up at him he was looking down at my hands. I quickly squeezed my hands into fists and hid them under the desk. I’m 37 now and to this day I am self conscious about my hands. 10 years ago, I made it a point to tell our wedding photographer that I didn’t want a photo of my husband’s and my hands with our wedding rings. My natural hand position is closed. I still vividly remember the interaction 32 years later. Comments, actions or reactions from others can create a strong emotional feeling. The result of that feeling is remembering it forever. There are so many things, amazing things I’m sure, from when I was 5 that I don’t remember. But Anthony’s comment about my hands, the vision of our classroom, the desk – everything is still so clear in my mind. I can only imagine how it affected this little girl to be called fat by her friends at camp. Today I have kids of my own and I make it a point not to introduce the word “fat” because I don’t want them to use it carelessly. At the end of the book ‘The Hungry Hungry Caterpillar’ I replace the word “fat” with “big” to describe the caterpillar because I just don’t think it’s necessary to read “fat” to young kids. They are not responsible enough to have access to that word. Words can do so much damage. Please be careful with them. Thank you for this reminder.

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