The tongue is an unruly member, and until it is brought into control by the girl herself, it is ever liable to get her into trouble. If the old rule to “think twice before you speak once” can be remembered and obeyed, much trouble and heartache will be avoided.
When all the efforts at controlling a girl’s tongue are made by parents and teachers instead of by the girl herself, it is like trying to stop a faucet by putting your hand over it. The pressure from within is so strong that ugly words will fly out in spite of these efforts. But when the girl undertakes the task herself, she is able to turn the pressure off so that the words flow smoothly. Not that it will be without struggle; but victory is ahead for every girl who will try.
Every girl should form the habit of speaking in a gentle tone. While she is young the vocal organs can be trained to give out soft tones. Who is it who does not admire a soft and tender tone in a woman’s voice? I have always felt sorry for older women who have from childhood spoken in a loud or harsh tone of voice, for it is practically impossible for them to do otherwise now. But girls can have gentle voices if they will.
No girl can afford to be impudent or saucy. One who is such sets a poor estimate upon herself. When a girl is saucy she shows a lack of respect for elders and superiors, and also a lack of respect for her own good name. Instead of sauciness sounding smart, and making a girl appear clever and independent, it shows her to be rude and egotistical. There is nothing lovely nor desirable about it, and if indulged in to any extent will spoil any girl.
Sauciness is more hateful because it begins at home. Where the girl should be her best she is her worst, for she is always more ugly to her own loved ones than to anyone else. She makes home miserable so far as her influence goes.
Mother and Father may endeavor to be kind and just, but at the least reproof or counsel the mouth of the girl sends out a stinging retort that hurts cruelly. Saucy words cost too much in heartache and tears. They are not found in beautiful girlhood; for where the habit of sauciness is found, the beauty of girlhood is spoiled.
Words can be like swords, cutting deep, not into the flesh but into the tender heart. The time will come, my young friend, when you will gaze upon the still form of one you loved and will regret with tears and sighs the harsh words you have spoken. Do not lay up for yourself sorrow for that time.
The tongue, ungoverned, leads into many wrong channels. By it unkind remarks are made of absent ones. Boasts and threats are uttered, evil suspicions spoken, trouble kindled, and hearts broken. Almost all the sorrow of the world can be traced back to the wrong use of the tongue.
If you could learn the history of almost any neighborhood you would find that someone has suffered, some heart has been wounded or broken, by the gossiping tongue of a neighbor. Gossip of a certain kind is not really wrong. We are naturally interested in the doings of our friends, and like to talk their affairs over in a kind way. And it is one of the strongest curbs on evil doings to know that such will be soundly condemned by the neighbors. We should always be ready to condemn evil deeds.
But when this gossip is mixed with a desire to wound or hurt another, or when the one who is talking is careless of the results of her speeches, gossip becomes sinful and mean. When gossip becomes backbiting, it is one of the worst of sins.
How quickly we would condemn a man who should shoot another in the back, when only a short time before he had pretended to be a friend to him; and we despise a dog that nips our heel; and the girl who will talk about her acquaintances behind their backs and pretend friendship to their faces is just as mean. Any way we view it as evil. Speaking and backbiting are wrong and entirely unbecoming to beautiful girlhood.
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