How This Type of Speech Can Damage Your Child for Years

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Shawn Akers

Mental scars run deep when a child is abused verbally.

The Hot Springs police arrived to investigate the abuse of a 4-year old girl. The obvious physical abuse of bruises on her body and the black-eye were alarming enough, but when they asked her what her name was, her response revealed a much deeper abuse.


Her mother and live-in-boyfriend had called her by the moniker so many times she thought her name was Idiot.

At this point of the news report, my flesh is so riled up that I would prefer to locate this couple to … well, lay hands upon them in a repeatedly rapid fashion. But, let me cool my jets a little.

The emotional and psychological damage that this child could suffer from is insidious. The mental scars could be deep.

Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in hardship(1 Chron. 4:9, MEV).

The etymology of Jabez means pain; he causes sorrow.

Jabez’ mother ruthlessly tagged him with her memory of his arrival into her life as nothing but sorrowful. Every morning, he was greeted with, “Jabez, you caused me pain when you entered my life.”

Every introduction to a new stranger gave them ample warning that here is a man who causes sorrow. Every job interview, he would be forced to address the obvious that he is a painful man.

It’s an insidious evil to curse a child with a lifelong moniker when they unknowingly have caused you pain, but that is exactly what many parents have done.

Stupid. Slow. Ugly. Incompetent. Lazy.

Hate speech damages children.

But before we beat up these parents for their foolishness, let’s look what is happening in the larger context of our culture.

Rather than talk about ideas and thoughtful arguments to address real issues and challenges that we are facing, culture’s language has been reduced to the most childish form of persuasion—name-calling.

I can’t stand the sophomoric rhetoric that we’re hearing. Language is specifically used to corral people into generalized identities, clustering them only on the basis of skin-tones or genetics.

For an example, I used to find it intriguing to think of my Irish heritage, only to realize that I really know nothing about my ancestry. I don’t even know who my great-grandfather was, much less if I actually have Irish roots. So, for me to identify myself as an Irish-American is assumption at best. At what point do we stop hyphenating our races and realize that we are one race—human? We will not relate to people we do not identify with.

So, when people flippantly assign names to other people hoping to isolate them, their words can be as harmful as the ignorant mother who named her child, “Idiot.”

The shallowest form of thinking is to assign to people a moniker that identifies them, not by who they really are but by who someone thinks they are, projecting their pains and sorrows upon others.

The child named “Idiot” is named so because the mother who named her is ignorant. Her mother transferred her own stupidity upon the child, rather than owning her own emotions and having the courage to deal with it. It’s a cowardly act to blame someone else for your own misery just because they entered your life.

In the same way, when society consistently monikers a cluster of people, they are projecting their own sorrows upon them, hoping to project their pains and transfer their sorrows to someone else.

Isaiah, the prophet spoke of someone who was born for the very purpose of taking up another person’s pains and sorrows.

“For he grew up before Him as a tender plant and as a root out of a dry ground. He has no form or majesty that we should look upon him nor appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from him; he was despised, and we did not esteem him. Surely he has borne our grief and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (Is. 53:2-4, MEV).

Jesus fulfilled this prophecy.

He related to us by identifying with mankind—our sorrows, our pains, our failures, our rejections, our suffrage—He took upon Himself the nature and condition of man.

Jesus descended from heaven to make eye contact with mankind, so that we could ascend to heaven to make eye contact with our Father.

The Lord spoke to me to build a movement to resurrect authentic manhood by focusing on men’s purposes rather than their carnality. We use the moniker of FivestarMan, so that a man may ascend to the heights of authentic manhood rather than descend to the depths of carnality.

The Scripture says that Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. Jabez prayed to God, “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!”

God granted his request.

When a man identifies with his purposes, his life becomes a passionate pursuit of authentic manhood.

FivestarMan exists to inspire, instruct, and empower men to live the authentic and passionate life that God intended for man. FivestarMan is not a program or a ministry. It is a movement—a movement of like-minded men ready to do an about-face, turning from a life of mediocrity to a passion-filled life of authentic manhood.

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