01/27/2012 04:42 pm ET Updated Jan 27, 2012

No Name-Calling Week: A Family Dinner Table Talk

This week's Family Dinner Table Talk, from HuffPost and The Family Dinner book:

To whoever first started chanting, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" -- it's catchy and empowering, yes, but very often, not true. Words hurt feelings. A lot. And yet, it happens often at school. The problem has become so common that this week was No Name-Calling Week, a time to make kids more aware and compassionate.

Book publisher Simon & Schuster and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) came up with the idea to have a whole week against name-calling. They were inspired by the "The Misfits," a book about four friends in the seventh grade who start a No-Name Party during school council elections. (Spoiler Alert: They go on to win the election and get support from the principal to start a "No Name-Calling Day" at their school.)

No Name-Calling Week's website includes ways to get your friends and teachers involved, like making anti-bullying posters to decorate classrooms or performing a play to address issues around name-calling at a school assembly. Specific lesson plans for elementary, middle, and high school levels are free to download and all the materials you'll need to launch a No Name-Calling Week at your school (not just this week, but any time of year) are there too. Author Signe Whitson also lists a few books that open up a conversation about childhood bullying and how to handle those scary situations. Because words can hurt but also heal -- and talking about their power to do both is a good place to start.

Questions for discussion:
  • Have you ever been called a name you didn't like? How did that make you feel?
  • Why do people call each other names when they know it could be hurtful?
  • What are some ways that we can all help stop name-calling in schools and anywhere else?
  • What can you do when you hear someone being called a bad name?

This Week's Recipe:
Each week, we give you something to talk about at dinner time, and now, something to eat too! Tonight's recipe comes to us from The Naptime Chef: Sweet & Spicy Mango Grilled Chicken.


In her new cookbook, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."

We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie and every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.

Click here to see last week's Family Dinner Download

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For more tips and recipes, check out The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time by Laurie David and Kirstin Uhrenholdt (