It's been an amazing summer with these girls. Each one of them has grown and learned something new about the others. I'd love to tell you that they treat each other with respect and never argue and fight anymore, but that would be a lie. They do, however, think a little bit more before they speak, understand how different doesn't mean bad and know that God gave each of them gifts and talents unique to them.
For our last week together, we returned to the topic of the tongue. Everyone has a tough time hanging onto their tongue. It seems as if our tongues have the fastest connection to our brains, and unfortunately, we too often speak before we're finished thinking.
Our verse for the week was James 3:5, "Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark."
To illustrate the permanence of words once they leave our mouths, we had a Silly String war. The girls shot Silly String at each other until their cans were empty. Then, we looked around at the mess. We talked about how our words are like the Silly String. Once they leave our mouths, we can't stuff them back in, just like we can't put the Silly String back in the can. We also talked about what a big mess our words can make, and that mess isn't as easily cleaned up as a bunch of Silly String on the ground.
After cleaning up the mess in the backyard, we came back inside to see how our words can be like a fire and leave others feeling burned. I put a piece of newspaper in a metal pan. I showed the kids the flame of a lighter. We talked about how that flame was under control. When the flame is under control, it doesn't hurt anyone -- just like a tongue that's under control. However, when that flame gets out of control, it burns things up -- just like our tongues can do if we don't control them. Then, I lit the piece of newspaper on fire. It flamed up and burned quickly. We were left with a charred mess of ash. I had the girls look at the ash, and we talked about how our tongue is like that fire. It can turn people to ash on the inside.
Our featured girl for the day was my youngest daughter's best friend. She does gymnastics and loves to play board games. So, we had her show us how to do a cartwheel and a handstand. Each of the girls tried both of those things, and we managed to avoid serious injury. Then, we went outside and tried our feet at the balance beam (which was the railroad tie border of our rock garden). We did dips and scales. Everyone learned that it's a whole lot harder than it looks to walk across a 4-inch wide beam.
After gymnastics, we came back inside and our friend taught us two of her favorite card games -- Spit and Snap. We discovered that some of the girls really loved the speed and strategy of Spit while others hated it. Snap was pretty much universally enjoyed.
We finished our day back where we started it, talking about our tongues and how we should think before we speak. The girls each took home a candle to remind them that we want our tongues to be like a flame that's under control, not one that's burning things up.