The day before her adopted daughter began her first day of middle school, a kind mom taught her a profound lesson on the power of her words, using a tube of toothpaste, and a plate.
The night before Amy Beth Gardner’s daughter, Breonna, began middle school, she asked her to squeeze an entire tube of toothpaste onto a plate.
“My daughter starts middle school tomorrow,” Amy shared in a post online. “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. 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. She began exclaiming things like “But I can’t!” and “It won’t be like it was before!” I quietly waited for her to finish and then said the following:”
At a time when Breonna was just about to enter middle school, a place filled with a mix of children learning who they are while trying to fit in, Amy told her daughter just how important it is to choose her words wisely, and to always use them for compassion and kindness.
“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.”
Amy’s words of wisdom for her daughter have been shared online more than two million times.
“As a parent, I want Breonna to draw from my strengths and learn from my weaknesses,” Amy said.
Amy and her husband adopted Breonna and her younger sister two years earlier after having been their foster parents. Because of her girls’ difficult start in life before they met, Amy said she is careful to pay extra attention to their emotional development, and is constantly encouraging them and helping them to have and understand a great sense of self worth.
“Each morning when I go to wake Breonna up, I take a few minutes before we get busy with breakfast and rushing out the door to school to tell her how much I believe in her, how important she is to me, how valuable her life is,” Amy said. “I know that, as she becomes a pre-teen and teenager, the world is going to tell her what to believe about herself. I want her to hear my voice first each morning telling her what I see in her and how proud I am of her.”
You are Loved.
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