Why this mum’s toothpaste puzzle for her daughter went viral

There's no way that's going back in the tube...?

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Ah, some things important people in our life tell us really stick with us forever, don’t they?

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Even if it’s just your mum warning you you’ll have someone’s eye out with ‘that’ (insert anything from a sharp stick to a marrow here) or your nan insisting you’ll get piles if you sit on a stone step.

Sometimes it’s actually pretty useful stuff though; things that make you think, and come back to you just at the moment you might otherwise make a bad decision, or are about to do what could perhaps be the wrong thing. Life lessons.

With all that in mind, we really loved this American mum’s lesson for her young daughter – and the inspired way in which she delivered it.

Because we don’t reckon there’s many of us who’ve have had ‘stop you in your tracks’ advice delivered via a tube of toothpaste and a tea plate…

Amy Beth Gardner, from Cleveland, Tennessee, USA, shared the pic and the story behind it on Facebook, where is has hit a real nerve with other parents, and has been shared some 556,000 times.

Amy explained in her post how she had taken her daughter Breonna aside the night before she started middle school and asked her to squeeze the entire contents of a tube of toothpaste on to a plate. She then asked Breonna to put all the toothpaste BACK into the tube.

Writing on Facebook, Amy explained that Breonna 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: ‘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,” Amy wrote.

Oooh, that’s a bit intense ?

“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,” she continued.

“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.”

Amy concluded by saying she had advised her daughter to ‘use her words carefully’.

“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.”

Wow. This is some metaphor, right? We honestly thought when we first heard about this and saw the pic it was going to be some weird puzzle about how to actually get toothpaste back in the tube… which we now know, like the taking back of hurtful words, is actually impossible…

We like this, don’t you? It has made us think. A lot. 

Pic: Amy Beth Gardner/Facebook

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