Save a gentle word for someone in your life this weekend

Words have stronger wings than cockatiels.


When I picked little Egg up after school the other day, I immediately saw that something was wrong. Her eyes were red and she didn’t look happy.

“I only have two friends left – Maddy and Alex,” she told me. “I’m not friends with Emma anymore.”

“Why not?” I asked. “Do you want to be friends with someone who uses sarcasticness on you?” she asked. “No, I suppose I don’t,” I answered. “Neither does Emma,” she said. “She fired me as a friend.”

On the way home I stopped for a secret ice cream to mend her heart. It had to be secret, because the lovely Snapdragon has put Egg on a strict diet, but nothing cures a six-year-old’s heart quicker.

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It doesn’t work as well on old fathers, because my heart ached for days for my little angel afterwards.

It’s no joke to lose a friend – “sarcasticness” or not. But that’s the problem with words. As a schoolboy, I had an aviary with cockatiels in our garden. One day I left the door open after feeding them and they all escaped.

I could hear them in the trees and saw one or two on branches, but couldn’t catch a single one again.

Words are just the same – once they have left your mouth, you can never get them back. Words have stronger wings than cockatiels. They fly far and wide and screech from the treetops.

“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never harm me,” my father used to say.

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I don’t have a problem with sticks and stones. They cause cuts and bruises, but those heal. Not so with words. Words have vicious claws and enormous fangs that leave fragile scars on your soul. I don’t know about you, but I prefer my soul clean and healthy.

Dear reader, save a gentle word for someone in your life this weekend. We live in cruel times and every one of us needs a soft remark from time to time.

Tonight I will wipe the dust off my most delicate words and present them to the lovely Snapdragon, because there is no bigger gift on earth than to treasure someone close’s feelings.

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And please… refrain from using “sarcasticness”. It tends to kill your relationships with those around you, as little Egg will tell you.

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