“Observe the people who always talk before they think—even simpletons are better off than they are.” (Proverbs 29:20 Message)
The majority of my generation was taught to think before you speak, not the other way around. However, it seems these days that people are getting more and more aggressive with their speech without taking into account what the repercussions may be.
I’m going to share an illustration that I have seen done before to teach the power of words and the reality that they can’t be taken back once spoken.
The teacher stood at the front of the class as they all looked curiously at the items on their desk: a tube of toothpaste, a paper plate & a q-tip. She was giving a lesson on thinking carefully before you allow yourself to speak, especially when you’re hurt. She looked at her students and instructed them to take their brand new tube of toothpaste and squeeze every bit of it out onto their plate. The idea of making a sloppy mess appealed to the children so they grinned and squealed as they made squiggly lines across their plates. Once she was certain that each child had done exactly as she said, she moved on to part two of this little demonstration. “Class, I want you to take your q-tip and try to put all of that toothpaste back into the tube.” The gleeful expressions quickly turned inquisitive as they tried their best to scoop all that minty fresh mess back into a tiny opening to no avail. After watching them struggle for a few minutes, this brilliant woman drove home her point. “That toothpaste is like our words, it is easy to let them fall right out but impossible to put them back in.”
A valuable lesson we all need to make an effort to remind ourselves of daily. Words come so easily but they can pack a punch and once you let them pass your lips, there ain’t a thing in the world you can do to take them back. So allow yourself time to think before you let your mouth get away from you. You will be glad you did….and so will the rest of the world.