By: Jane Landreth
Erin and her dad sat in lawn chairs on the back patio. Dad was trying to read the evening
newspaper, but Erin kept interrupting. She enjoyed telling Dad what happened at school each day. Dad didn’t really mind— he enjoyed her enthusiasm for sharing the things that she did each day. Sometimes Dad even called Erin a chatterbox.
“I hit a home run when we played softball today,” Erin said. “I think I’ll be a softball player when I get out of school. Do you think I could make a career playing softball?”
Before Dad could answer, Erin began talking again. “I made a clay dog in art today.
Maybe I will be an artist. Of course, I’d have to finish school and go to college.”
“I think you can do anything you set your mind to,” Dad said when he finally had a chance to talk. “Just make sure you are doing what God wants you to do.”
“Dad, did you know that LeAnn’s older brother was suspended from school because he was caught cheating on a test? Joy told me that he didn’t study and that he spends all his study time with a group of older boys who are always in trouble. Joy said LeAnn’s dad had to go pick him up at the police station last week. He was with a group of boys who wrote on the brick fence at the park. He will never graduate if he doesn’t
”Dad held up his hand. “Hold on a minute, Erin,” he said. “How do you know that what Joy told you is true? And even if it is true, should you be repeating it? You could really hurt LeAnn’s brother and maybe even LeAnn by saying things like that about him.”
Erin felt guilty and couldn’t look Dad in the eye. She gazed off to one side. Suddenly she stood up and pointed. “Dad, look! Over there in Mr. Jordan’s backyard! Those leaves are on fire!”
“Grab the water hose,” Dad instructed as he raced over to the burning leaves. He grabbed a rake from the side of Mr. Jordan’s garage.
A spark had jumped out of the fire pit, and the dry leaves had caught on fire. Erin watered the leaves around the fire pit. Dad beat at the burning leaves and raked them into a pile so the leaves wouldn’t spread the fire. Soon the fire was out.
“Thank you, neighbors!” Mr. Jordan exclaimed, coming from the house. “I just went into the house for a drink of water. I thought the fire pit would be all right. Guess I stayed longer than I intended.”
“I’m glad Erin noticed the fire right away,” Dad said.
“I’m glad we still had our water hose hooked up.”
“Thanks again,” Mr. Jordan said. “It could have been bad.”
“Whew! That was a close one,” Dad exclaimed as he and Erin walked back to their patio.
“I wasn’t sure we were going to be able to handle it.
“You know, Erin, sometimes I call you a chatterbox,” Dad said, “but I enjoy having you
share what happened during your day. It’s normal that sometimes you are tempted to
share more information than necessary or even gossip. The Bible says the tongue is like a fire, and you just saw how fast a fire could get out of control. What you say can be exaggerated and spread rapidly too. That’s why you need to be careful about what you say.”
“Like what I said about LeAnn’s brother,” Erin said, looking down at her shoes. “I don’t know if Joy was telling me the truth or not.”
“And even if she was telling you the truth,” Dad explained, “sometimes it is best to not share it with others.”
Erin nodded, remembering the things she had been telling Dad.
Dad is right. I am a chatterbox, she thought.
I’m going to be more careful about what I say. I don’t want my tongue to be like a fire!