Jo, since this is a thread about children, I'll continue the topic. Why on earth is it that children so often feel the need to be cruel to one another? Is it because they need to show some form of power, since they have no power over adults? I hope your children don't get upset if they are teased about being in a Scottish school.

I'll tell you, I'm beginning to think that I must be even luckier than I thought, reading some of the things you were called as a child, and recalling children of friends calling their siblings ugly names. That almost never happened among my friends and family. (It did with my schoolmates, but not all of them were friends I played with.) Someone recently wrote to me that she wasn't raised to be encouraging, and--this goes to show my naivete/"stupid-ness", I guess--I was very surprised. For all of my life, this is simply the way things were: no more thought was given to it than to breathing. Playing neighborhood ball games, we'd all be calling, "Nice throw", "good try", and so on. All of us kids did it, and all the important adults in my life did it. The adults were not only encouraging to us children, I got to witness their example of being encouraging to one another. And I am now more grateful than ever to them, because I have never really considered that I might be an entirely different person if not for them being the way they were.

My children have NEVER been allowed to call anyone an ugly name, especially not each other. They have known from their earliest ability to understand that I consider this hurtful. So far, I can say that they seem to be growing up into reasonable beings (not quite adults yet). It is simply beyond my comprehension to think of being deliberately cruel.

And yet, your history may be a perfect example of a point made in Political Correctness: those terms were used with no thought whatsoever to the possible effects on their recipients. And now, the mind of the public has begun the change to realization that these ought to be dispensed with.