Going from elementary to middle school is an exciting time for soon-to-be teens! Between a new area to explore, tougher classes, and more responsibility, this next step in life is crucial to development.
Since Amy Gardner knew middle school wouldn’t be just another walk in the park, she wanted to give her daughter a minty lesson about using her words. Just as her 11-year-old daughter, Breonna, was set to get her last night’s sleep in before transitioning into the sixth grade, Amy gave her a tube of toothpaste, instructed her to squeeze everything out, and then asked her to put it all back inside.
Breonna couldn’t do it.
“But I can’t!” she said. “It won’t be like it was before!”
Amy then told her daughter to remember the plate of toothpaste for the rest of her life, because like the toothpaste, her words can’t ever be taken back once they leave her mouth.
“As you go into middle school, you are about to see just how much weight your words carry,” she said. “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.”
“When others are misusing their words, guard your words,” she continued. “Make the choice every morning that life-giving words will come out of your mouth.”
Amy, who adopted Breonna and her 7-year-old sister in 2014 after becoming foster parents, said her daughter knew exactly what the minty metaphor meant. They even spent time discussing examples of harmful and encouraging words.
“It’s really important to me, only having nine years with Breonna, to produce a child that’s learned that she needs to be responsible for her actions and her words,” Amy told ABC News. “We certainly don’t expect Breonna not to make mistakes in middle school, but we want to help her.”
Check out this mom’s full lesson on Facebook!