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Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Pretty By Name

My family name was Pretty and I lived on Sunrise Avenue in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland. A pen pal commented about the beautiful name and address. However it never occurred to me how lovely it was when I was growing up, but I remembered what he wrote.

That name Pretty was a tough one to carry as a child. Other children made fun of the name by saying, "Pretty alright, pretty ugly." Other comments paired the name with stupid and fat. 

Elementary school was the worst. By the time I got to high school, the name calling stopped in the girls school I attended but the damage was done. I hated to say my name when I met someone for the first time. I felt so insecure and embarrassed by the name. Bullying had done its nefarious work.

Then I met Rick. When we married I was glad to change my name to Smith. I never considered keeping my own name as some women did at that time. I was not embarrassed to say my name any more and the insecurity that came with Pretty disappeared.

Over time my attitude towards my own name changed as my confidence grew, my life evolved and I became more aware of my heritage. I eventually grew into my Pretty name. If I were getting married today I would keep my original name and be proud of it.

Bullying is not new. The difference today is that it follows you into your home on your computer and everywhere you go on your mobile device so you never escape it. For me, bullying occurred outside my house and I closed the door to it. Now it does not stop at the door and no place is safe. If something is on the internet, it is difficult to escape.

Parental rules for young people regarding technology and its usage are so important. Supervision is vital. Despite our best efforts sometimes, things happen. We have two grandchildren growing up in  this technological age and we will all have to be watchful. The benefits of technology come with huge responsibilities for all of us, especially  parents and children. Today there is often more at stake than self esteem. 

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