The tube of toothpaste
“Watch what you say because one word can change a person’s life forever.” Demi Lovato
There is an old story about a rabbi who gave each of his young students a tube of toothpaste and a paper plate. They were told to squeeze all the toothpaste out of the tube. Then he asked if they could put it all back, and of course, they said no. The toothpaste is just like words, he told them. Once you say something, you can never take it back. We need to think before we speak, and to realize that when we say something that hurts another’s feelings, we cannot take it back.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” We’ve all heard these words, but are they really true? Michael Josephson (www.charactercounts.com), is a Los Angeles based educator who is founder and president of the nonprofit Josephson Institute. He says that verbal abuse, gossip, teasing and insults can have deeper pain than weapons. Schoolrooms and playgrounds are full of ridicule at those who are different in looks or intelligence. Josephson encourages teachers and parents to work on child’s self-worth and also teach them the power of words. You can contact the Josephson Institute at 310-846-4800 or 800-711-2670. They are located at 9841 Airport Bl. #300, L.A. 90045 and pffer many workshops.
In the Michigan Daily (www.michigandaily.com) there is a powerful letter to the editor. It talks about how words, if used as weapons, are not only hurtful but can influence another’s beliefs and actions. The Internet is a place where people put their opinions, and it’s necessary to be civil about other people’s feelings. Tweens use the internet and phone for communication.
Tweens are particularly vulnerable to the power of words. They are caught up in looks and peer pressure and popularity. They shift their moods and friendships, often without realizing the effect of their words.
Taylor Swift has some advice: (www.tumblr.com) “Words can break someone into a million pieces, but they can also put them back together. I hope you use yours for good, because the only words you’ll regret more than the ones left unsaid are the ones you use to intentionally hurt someone.”