An inspiring social media post by mom Amy Beth Gardner about “back to school preparations” recently went viral. As powerful as the message in her post is, though, the story behind it is even more powerful.
She shared the tender details with Independent Journal Review, explaining that she and husband Paul, who got married in 2012, had struggled with infertility. While they were trying to conceive, the couple “decided to become therapeutic foster parents.” She says:
“We so wanted a child to pour our love into and we knew there were children all over the nation that need that type of love.”
After undergoing training, in 2014 Amy and Paul were able to welcome two foster children, eleven-year-old Breonna and seven-year-old Bridgett into their home and lives. A little over a year later, the couple adopted the girls:
Because Breonna is growing up so quickly, the Gardners feel the pressure to put all they can into teaching her to “become a loving, responsible adult.” Amy Beth explains:
“We use every opportunity we have to try to teach her to take personal responsibility for her words — and to teach her that her words have the power to do good in the world. With having half of the time regular parents have, every minute counts.”
It is here that the mom’s viral social media post and the “pre-middle school task that is far more important than the others” enters into the story.
Before Breonna’s first day of middle school, Amy Beth decided to teach her daughter the importance of being kind in a world of notoriously cruel middle schoolers.
Amy Beth instructed Breonna to squirt toothpaste onto a plate and then asked her to put it all back in the tube. After allowing her daughter to finish declaring how she couldn’t do it, mom had an important message to share:
“You will remember this plate of toothpaste for the rest of your life. Your words have the power of life or death. As you go into middle school, you are about to see just how much weight your words carry. You are going to have the opportunity to use your words to hurt, demean, slander and wound others. You are also going to have the opportunity to use your words to heal, encourage, inspire and love others.
You will occasionally make the wrong choice; I can think of three times this week I have used my own words carelessly and caused harm. Just like this toothpaste, once the words leave your mouth, you can’t take them back. Use your words carefully, Breonna.
When others are misusing their words, guard your words. Make the choice every morning that life-giving words will come out of your mouth. Decide tonight that you are going to be a life-giver in middle school. Be known for your gentleness and compassion. Use your life to give life to a world that so desperately needs it. You will never, ever regret choosing kindness.”
Here are Breonna and Amy Beth:
Amy Beth has had a tremendous response to her post. She adds to the story by sharing that “Breonna and Bridgett are proof that love can change any circumstances and our hope is that they will take the love we have poured into them and use it to do good in the world.”
Breonna, Amy Beth says, has ambitions of becoming a foster parent herself one day.
Source: independent journal
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