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January 18, 2019



That’s what we called it. A silly little game beloved by elementary school kids of the time.


We’d sit in a great big circle, the more the merrier. The Starter (and everyone got a turn to start) would decide on a word or a short phrase. Whisper it to the next person who would whisper it to the next person who would whisper – until it had gone full circle.


You could not repeat the word. We tried to be miserable by speaking too fast or whispering too quietly. We’d even add something small.


But eventually the “secret” word or phrase would go full circle. And then be announced. 


In all the years I played that silly little game I do not recall once that the final word/phrase was the same as the starting word/phrase.


Fast forward to the last two years of High School. They were happy ones. In an all girls’ boarding school!


The week always started with Assembly in the Main Hall. Everyone filed in to the tune of “When the Saints Go Marching in.” This masterpiece I would thump out on the old piano in the corner of the stage. 


I’d take my seat on a chair next to the piano, hands devoutly folded on my lap. I'd listen, with one ear, as the principal, at the lectern, did a Bible reading.


One morning my beloved Afrikaans teacher did the reading. Why? I have no idea. But because it was a break with the normal, I sat up and listened. With two ears.


It was about gossip and the harm it could do.


I knew nothing about any stories making the rounds. As the only Music Major in my class, every spare moment found me at the piano. I had very little time for socializing with my peers, except at bedtime and then we were all too tired.


But that reading has come back to haunt me. With firsthand experience of what gossip can do to your child, I often find myself back in that Assembly so many years ago.


Recently I was told a story as it had reached the final recipient. But as I knew the “Starter,” I refused to believe that final version. The “story” had traveled over a period of months via goodness know how many people.


Here and there an opinion was probably added. Here and there something was twisted a little. Here and there, for the hell of it, someone embellished it a little.


End result? Incredible hurt inflicted on that final recipient. Incredible damage done to an already fragile relationship.  


And a Starter wondering what the heck had happened.


James 3:5-8 NIV


But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.


Cyber Hugs and Blessings All.

Photo by Lukas from Pexels


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