Mother’s Toothpaste Lesson for Middle Schooler Is Important Reminder of the Power of Words
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me,” is a popular catchphrase for children to help them deal with verbal abuse, but in reality, the idea that words do no harm isn’t true. A person’s words can have profound effects on another’s life, especially children, who sometimes are so hurt by bullying, they may take their own life. One mother is making this point resonate in a truly unique way: using toothpaste. Amy Beth Gardner sent her daughter to middle school on Monday, but before she let her daughter go, Gardner wanted her child to learn how hard it is to take back words that you don’t mean.
“Tonight just before bed, we did another pre-middle school task that is far more important than the others,” Gardner wrote in a Facebook post. “I gave her a tube of toothpaste and asked her to squirt it out onto a plate. When she finished, I calmly asked her to put all the toothpaste back in the tube.” After Gardner’s daughter, Breonna, tells her mom that it’s not possible to put the toothpaste back in, Gardner revealed the similarities between this and saying something hurtful to someone you may care about, or even strangers. From Gardner’s post: “You will remember this plate of toothpaste for the rest of your life. Your words have the power of life or death. As you go into middle school, you are about to see just how much weight your words carry. You are going to have the opportunity to use your words to hurt, demean, slander and wound others. You are also going to have the opportunity to use your words to heal, encourage, inspire and love others. You will occasionally make the wrong choice; I can think of three times this week I have used my own words carelessly and caused harm. Just like this toothpaste, once the words leave your mouth, you can’t take them back.” Gardner then urged her daughter to use her words wisely. “Be known for your gentleness and compassion. Use your life to give life to a world that so desperately needs it. You will never, ever regret choosing kindness,” concluded Gardner. The post has received an astounding 447,000 likes and has been shared more than half a million times (as of press). And it’s no wonder why. It’s a simple comparison that will likely come to any child’s (or adult’s) mind whenever they may say something they’d soon regret.
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