Last weekend my husband and I were doing yard work we had severely neglected since moving to our new home here in Tennessee. I actually like yard work. It gives me time to myself without distractions. I put on my headphones, click a favorite playlist and off I go.
On this particular day, I was thinking about an up coming speaking engagement I had just accepted in November to speak at a leadership conference for 250 student leaders in Lawrence County, Tennessee.
As I began pulling weeds, I attempted to outline in my message in my head. Stooped over my out of control weeds, sweat pooled at my brow and dripped off the edge of my nose. My first discovery was patches of strawberries choked beneath weeds. They didn’t look very healthy, likely from the lack of sunlight. Some weeds were easy to pull, others, not so much. As I tugged on a stubborn one, it broke, the root still deep in the ground. “Oh great,” I remember saying. “that weed’s going to keep growing.”
No sooner had those words left my mouth when I remembered a Veggie Tale movie my kids watched when they were little called Larry Boy and the Rumor Weed. (If you have young kids and haven’t seen a Veggie Tale movie, I would encourage you to watch one. I have linked the trailer at the bottom. They are faith based, teaching character and life lessons in a relatable way kids understand.
The movie Larry-Boy and the Rumor Weed addresses rumors by comparing them to weeds. There’s this one line from the movie that has always stuck with me, “Once you repeat it, it’s hard to defeat it.” Isn’t that so true? Rumors, like weeds are hard to get rid of once they take root. And just like my strawberries strangled by the weeds, those who are the target of rumors often feel strangled and struggle to grow healthy. It can affect them emotionally, academically, socially and physically.
The damage done from spreading rumors can be wide-spread. Some of the side effects; depression, anxiety, drug/alcohol use, truancy, low academic success in school and suicide.
Recent statistics say Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for ages 10-24. (2015 CDC WISQARS). It is also the SECOND leading cause of death for college-age youth and ages 12-18. (2015 CDC WISQARS).
Words are powerful. They can build up or tear down. And if I’m being honest, there have been more times than I would like to admit where my words were anything but kind. Years ago, I found the acronym THINK. I love it! It has been a great check and balance for me to use before I open my mouth to gab with other gals. I share it when I speak at my Combat Mean assemblies and workshops with girls too. It’s such a simple tool they can use as they navigate their relationships and learn how to positively communicate with each other both by mouth and on their social media platforms.
Let’s not just keep our weeds from growing out of control in our yards but also our words from becoming rumors that can grow wildly out of control in our relationships with each eachother.
Spread KINDNESS my friends, not rumors!
Larry Boy and the Rumor Weed trailer