Wednesday, June 16, 2010

the toothpaste lesson

Many years ago, my daughter, Emily, had a lovely 3rd grade teacher, named Mrs. Snoddy. She was a favorite of ours. You see, she was one of those rare teachers that taught more than textbook education. She taught life lessons and virtues. She left a lasting impression on us all and I am so grateful she touched our lives.

So back to the Toothpaste Lesson.

There seem to be a problem with some of the children getting along. Some hurtful things were said and Mrs. Snoddy had enough. She announced that each child was to bring a tube of toothpaste to class the next day. Didn't have to be new, or a certain type or size. Just bring it to class the following day.

My daughter, along with her classmates were anxious to see what new experiment Mrs. Snoddy had up her sleeves. They always had impromptu experiments, and lessons. She always had that touch of excitement and enchantment in the classroom.
So the following day, she put wax paper down on the desktops and told the children, they were to squirt out some toothpaste.
Some of the children immediately started squirting out the paste into mountains. While others cautiously would let out just a tiny bit. A few, actually asked her, "How much are we to squirt?". Mrs. Snoddy, answered with, "That is your decision."
The teacher walked about the class examining the children's "work".
Finally she said, "Okay Class, now put it back into the tubes."
Well, you can imagine the looks on their faces. Many tried, desperately attempting to figure out a way to reverse what had been expelled.
None we successful at retrieving ALL the paste back into the tube.
Mrs. Snoddy had their attention.
She explained that much like this tube of toothpaste, are our mouths with words. Once you let it out, it's very difficult to take it back.
She said, "The next time, you are angry, or grumpy, gossipy, or even playfully teasing, think about this tube of toothpaste on your desk. Think about how once you save something harsh or negative, you can't take it back." Remeber, it is your decission. Choose your words wisely."
I am pretty sure, my daughter wasn't the only one that remembers this lesson.
Bravo, Mrs. Snoddy.!
Hopefully, Emily will remember these lessons to pass on to her classrooms to come. Your lessons were the best!


Linda said...

So true! And something I've failed miserably at more times than I can count, over the years. I have a horrible temper, and basically say what I feel. And then feel bad about it later and apologize.

A human kind of human said...

Guilty, guilty, guilty! I have also squirted a log to the proverbial tooth paste in my life and now (older and wiser) I am so sorry about it and yes, of course I cannot take it back. I think it was an excellent lessen to be remembered for a long, long time. Thanks for sharing.