Many years ago a wonderful friend of mine asked me what the smallest part of the body is. I was very young and probably very stupid at the time and I responded with “Duh, a finger.” He commented to me, “No it’s the tongue.” He also said to me that although the tongue is the smallest part of the body it can do the most damage. I never forgot the conversation that I had with him; unfortunately he has since passed away and I miss him dearly. I could sure use a lot more of his advice and teaching. Our words can really do some damage. Damage sometimes that can be life long, and sometimes we don’t even know what we’re doing, probably because we just were never taught how to shut-up.  Kids and adults can shoot their mouth off and think that they are being funny, or that they’re standing up for themselves when in reality they may be doing more harm than good. I was watching a baseball game very recently and watched one of the players go crazy over a called third strike. This is a grown man.  He had to be restrained by 3 other players and the manager. Of course he was thrown out of the game. He was also suspended for three games right in the middle of a pennant race. I guess he really showed them. What a dope.

We also like to have laughs at someone else’s expense. My philosophy is if we both aren’t laughing it’s not funny. Kids today have a real problem with behavior like this. They say things, get a laugh and really hurt the feelings of another person. I don’t even think that they are aware of the fact that people are listening and not everyone is impressed with their wit, and that they are creating a negative image of themselves in the minds of other people.

That wonderful friend of mine who talked to me about the tongue was also full of illustrations and stories that were inspiring and instructional. He illustrated this societal problem with a true story that I always refer to as the “Deaf Boy Story” and it is worth sharing here.

There were two boys who were brothers. One of the boys was deaf. They had a friend who hung around with them all the time.  This friend was the biggest jokester on two feet. He was always telling jokes or making fun of someone or something. One day the three boys were headed out of the house and this jokester started to make fun of the way the deaf boy spoke. Well the deaf kid couldn’t hear, and the brother gave a half hearted laugh and they left the house. No harm no foul? The deaf kid didn’t hear so no one got hurt. No one else heard right?  No one heard except the deaf kid’s father who was reading the paper in the den.

Let’s fast forward the tape. At the time of this incident these two boys were sophomores in college. Two years went by and they both graduated with degrees in business administration. They both went on the job hunt. This jokester had an interview with a large insurance company. He had to go through one more phase of the hiring process. He had to meet the Vice-President of the company. Who do you think the Vice-President was? The deaf kid’s father, and the only perception that he had of this young man was that he had made fun of his son. It cost him……..the job. People hear and they watch too. You never know when you are going to need someone or something. The things that are the greatest desires of our hearts are the things that will be withheld from us because of our past words or actions. Self-control is important and if your tongue, a one ounce body part, has more control over you than you have over it, it will cost you when least expect it. You never know.

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