Before her daughter started middle school in 2016, Amy Gardner made sure to help prepare her for the year ahead. The mother-daughter duo decorated her locker, bought new uniforms, and shopped for school supplies. But what Amy taught her newly minted middle schooler the night before her transition to a new school was far more important than anything else — she used a common household item to demonstrate the effects of bullying.
Amy handed her daughter a new tube of toothpaste and asked her to squirt it out on a plate. Once she finished the unusual task, her mom then asked her to put all of the toothpaste back into the tube. Amy shared on Facebook how she responded when the tween exclaimed that it was impossible and that the toothpaste would never 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, Breonna. 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.