It’s nearly back to school time and with this in mind, one Cleveland, Tenn. mother decided to take the opportunity to teach her daughter Breonna a life lesson.
“My daughter starts middle school tomorrow. We’ve decorated her locker, bought new uniforms, even surprised her with a new backpack. But tonight just before bed, we did another pre-middle school task that is far more important than the others,” Amy Beth Gardner says in a Facebook post which has since gone viral.
Handing her daughter a tube of toothpaste, Gardner asks her to squeeze the contents out onto a plate. Once she’s done that, she then asks her to put it back on the tube, watching as the young girl argues that it’s impossible.
“But I can’t!”
“It won’t be like it was before!”
Gardner explains that the toothpaste is a metaphor for the young girl’s words and that once they’re out there, they can’t be taken back.
“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.”
She explains that she will likely make mistakes — admitting that she herself has carelessly used her words this week and caused harm.
“Just like this toothpaste, once the words leave your mouth, you can’t take them back.”
But Gardner hopes that the image of the toothpaste will stick in her mind and help her make the right decisions.
“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.”
Since posting the story over the weekend, it has been shared more than 550,000 times, with 300 comments.
“What a wonderful lesson & visual for a child! I hope one day every parent shares this, what a beautiful difference it would make,” writes Jordan Varner.
“Wise mom….I have used the analogy of cutting open a feather pillow on a windy day….once the wind carries those feathers away, it is impossible to get them back!” shared Kathleen Walker Hughes.
What do you think of this analogy? Let us know by tweeting to @YahooStyleCA.