Go up to the lifeguard and say, "Boobies!"
I don't like the game Truth or Dare because it never ends well.
The "dare" always ends up being something inappropriate, and the "truth" is inevitably used as fodder for ridicule.
On this particular day, the game ended as my daughter came to me crying because her brother embarrassed her in front of the other kids. During her turn, someone asked the question, "What is one thing you can't live without?" My son blurted out, "I know this one! Daddy Panda!" Daddy Panda is her favorite stuffed animal. As the kids laughed, my daughter came running to me at the other end of the pool, and my son knew immediately what he had done.
After he contritely apologized for betraying her confidence, the two proceeded to tell me all the kid-gossip. That girl is scared of the deep-end. So-and-so likes So-and-so, and one boy said "boobies" to Miss Britney.
We got home I called a meeting to further discuss the days' events. I thought of James chapter 3 and explained the idea of "taming the tongue".
James 3:7,8 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue.
We talked about how the bible has lots to say about our words and how we can use them for building up or for tearing down. We discussed definitions of words and phrases. What is gossip? What is a rumor and how is it different or the same as a lie? What is meant by "betraying confidence"? What does it mean to tell secrets?
We brainstormed a few tongue-taming rules:
If something is discouraging rather than encouraging, or you think it might hurt someone's feelings, don't say it.
If it's not your news to share, don't share it.
If you don't know that a story is true, don't spread it.
If it is inappropriate or potentially embarrassing, don't let it come out of your mouth!
Finally, we looked up some verses in Psalms and Proverbs.
"Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies."
(Psalms 34:12-13, NIV)
"Your tongue plots destruction; it is like a sharpened razor, you who practice deceit."
(Psalms 52:2, NIV)
"A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret."
(Proverbs 11:13, NIV)
"A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends."
(Proverbs 16:28, NIV)
"The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts."
(Proverbs 18:8, NIV)
"A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much."
(Proverbs 20:19, NIV)
How true it is, that taming the tongue is a lifelong journey. Reading these verses aloud reminds me that NOW is the time to bust out those bridles. While current content of kid-gossip seems mostly harmless, that beast will only get stronger and the stakes will only get higher, and the word *boobies* will be the least of my worries.