About Me:

Aloha! I'm Wendy Kennar. I'm the mother of a seven-year-old son and a wife living in Los Angeles. I was a public school teacher for twelve years until a chronic medical condition made it necessary to leave my teaching career.

I've always been described as "quiet" - really, I'm just biting my tongue. I've got lots to say, and lots of thoughts to share, I just prefer to write them. That's the purpose of this blog. Each Wednesday, I post a personal essay offering my observations and thoughts.

A few fun facts about me: I've wanted to be a writer since second grade, when my teacher, Mrs. Jones, made me a "book" with a yellow construction paper cover. I have never learned to whistle, have always preferred sunflowers to roses, and have spent my life living within the same zip code.

Through the years, my writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, United Teacher, GreenPrints, L.A. Parent, DivineCaroline.com, RoleReboot.org, XOJane, and Brain, Child Magazine. Additionally, my personal essays have been included in several anthologies, including: The Barefoot Review, Beyond the Diaper Bag, Lessons From My Parents, Write for Light, Being a Grown-Up: A User's Manual for the Real World, Ka-Pow!, How Writing Can Get You Through Tough Times, Breath and Shadow, The Grey Wolfe Storybook, and Sisters Born, Sisters Found.
I am a regular contributor at MomsLA.com, and you can also find me at Goodreads.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Feel free to comment and share my blog with others!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sticks and Stones and Words that Harm

It’s no name-calling week.  
And I’m confused.  Why is it just a week?  In my classroom, in my family, it’s an every-day, every-week rule.
When I was growing up, certain words were not allowed in our home.  And in my classroom, certain words are not allowed.  (“H-a-t-e” is a bad word and is not said in Room 7).  We do not laugh at someone who makes a mistake; someone who truly tried to answer a question, offer a comment, or read a paragraph aloud, and somehow did so incorrectly.  We do not call someone a name based on how they look, what they wear, or how they perform in the classroom.
Throughout my life, I’ve been teased for being smart.  For having a first name that is associated with Peter Pan and a certain hamburger fast-food chain.  For having a name that sounds like a weather description.  I’ve been teased for being asthmatic, suffering from acne, for being a slow runner, and someone who has neat handwriting.
All those things are true about me.  I do run slowly.  I do write neatly.  I do have asthma.  I did have terrible acne.  Being teased and being called mean names doesn’t make it any easier to live with those situations.  And I know that children and adults (because, yes adults do tease as well) name-call for different reasons.  They are jealous.  They are trying to be funny (and it never is).  They are insecure themselves and want to deflect the attention away from themselves and onto another.
But why is it just a week?  Why do we focus on the cruelties and the meanness and the unnecessary actions of name-calling for just a week?   
Where did this idea come from that we can make fun of others, ridicule others for things that are, most often, out of their control?  Why do we tolerate it?   
I think there needs to be a drastic change in our every-day behaviors and actions.  In my mind, every week should be no name-calling week!


  1. Honey,

    I never new that no-name calling week existed!

    Your students are really blessed to have you as their teacher.

    You are an amazing person and I am lucky to share life with you!

    I Love You!


  2. I've never heard about the no name calling week either. Who would tease you about having neat handwriting? Never thought people would get teased about that. Keep up the great writing.

  3. I must agree I never heard of no name calling week,but that is something that should be on-going.It always killed me when I knew you were being teased.Adults seem to be no better than children with saying things before thinking it through.Your writing is EXCELLENT.I love you and am very proud of you.

  4. I propose that we have a no name calling year. Remember, sticks and stones. Your Mother and I are proud of you and what you have accomplished. The only name I would call you is special. Everything you touch turns out well.

    Love, Dad

  5. Name calling and bullying is definitely one of those terrible cycles that are hard to break out of. Having been called names during my youth, I find myself sometimes saying things without thinking and instantly regretting words that have a nasty sting to them. I'm definitely working on it.

    I don't know who would make fun of your neat writing... That's just weird. I love and miss your neat penmanship.