Three tubes of toothpaste with toothpaste squeezed outI like to play a game with children in which I give them a tube of toothpaste and ask them to see how fast they can squeeze it empty into a plate. They always have a blast! Then, I ask them to put the toothpaste back into the tube. Of course, they cannot. I then explain to them that the words we say to others are just like that toothpaste. We must be careful what we say, because we can never put the words back into our mouth. Make every word count for good.

Sometimes a simple statement might not mean much to the one who speaks it, yet changes the world of the one who hears. “Why can’t you do anything right,” an angry father mutters to his son in frustration. Easy to say. Impossible to take back. Certain to hurt! Now imagine receiving even harsher words: “You are worthless.” “I wish you were never born.” “It’s YOUR fault he left us.” The children who come to live on our campus and in our foster homes were likely the recipients of such words, or even worse ones. It leaves scars upon the child’s very soul. It changes the child.

So, we know that the words children hear while in our care matter all the more. Our residential team are trained to look for every opportunity to speak love and positivity into the lives of children. For example, I recently stopped in on one of the summer outdoor activities on campus that were designed to keep the kids happy and active in the midst of this “safer at home” season of isolation. As it happened, I overheard one of our cottage staff talking to a young man. I only caught the tail end of the conversation but heard these words, “You know William, that’s why I like you! You always give the best answers!” Now, I really don’t know what that conversation was about. However, I could see the immediate impact of those words as the young man walked away beaming with the biggest grin I’ve ever seen. Why, he looked like a mule eat’n briers! No doubt the words “I like you,” and “best” were significant and formative.

Did you know that as a partner and supporter of B&GH, you are personally responsible for speaking positive words to children? Every card you send, every gift you make, every care package you deliver, and every visit you make to campus (when we can do such things) is a word of life to a young person! You are a part of speaking love, hope, and inspiration into the lives of our children. I encourage you to find ways every day to continue to say the words that matter.


How You Can Help

Dr. Mason Fuller Smith is the Director of Civic Club Relations for Boys and Girls Homes of NC.

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