A little while ago my good friend Ann shared this story and I thought it was a poignant introduction to the Zen principle of mindful speech. The story gives a great visual aid that shows the profound effect that our words can have on other people and specifically addresses bullying. For both kids and adults, it really made sense to explain bullying this way. Here's the story:
A teacher in New York was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform. She had the children take a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stamp on it and really mess it up but do not rip it. Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty is was. She then told them to tell it they’re sorry. Now even though they said they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it. That is what happens when a child bully’s another child, they may say they’re sorry but the scars are there forever. The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home. Pass it on or better yet, if you're a parent or a teacher, do it with your child/children.
The thought of maintaining a strong focus on mindful speech as adults came to mind as I read this. It inspired me to suggest a simple experiment. For the next week, slow down a bit in your replies and ask yourself these three questions about your words before you speak them.
1) Is this true?2) Is this kind?3) Is this necessary?
Let us know how it goes!
Frances loves to share her point of view on many topics including: healthy recipes, anatomy studies, any kind of movement practice and fun stories about life in general.