Amy Gardner was getting ready for her daughter to start middle school the next morning. The two were as prepared as ever. They had finished their supplies shopping, purchased new uniforms, and her locker was decorated and ready to be used. Mom had even purchased a new back pack…but one thing still wasn’t finished, and mom knew that it was the most important thing of all.
She sat down with her daughter at the kitchen table and laid out a clean plate. Then, she gave her daughter a tube of toothpaste and told her to squirt out as much as she could onto the plate. Obviously, the girl was confused but soon had fun emptying the tube.
Then, mom asked her to put all of the toothpaste back into the tube. Predictably, the girl became frustrated and saying things like ‘But I can’t!’ and ‘It won’t be like it was before!’
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. Use your words carefully. When others are misusing their words, guard your words. Make the choice every morning that life-giving words will come out of your mouth. Decide tonight that you are going to be a life-giver in middle school. 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.”
The post has been shared over 300,000 times by parents and students alike. The message is powerful, and for years to come, that little girl (and countless others) will remember the lesson in their greatest times of need.
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