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Ann Farabee: Take it back



It could have become a big problem. Two of my 6th grade students were on the playground pushing and shoving. As I approached them, they wrestled each other to the ground and appeared ready to throw a few punches. Students gathered around – to watch – and provoke – the fight. One bystander yelled out a reminder, “You can’t let him say that about you!”


As I pushed through the crowd to try to break it up, the boy that was on top began screaming, “TAKE IT BACK!”


The boy on the ground hesitated, gritted his teeth, pulled himself up on his knees, and then softly said, “I take it back.”


The words had been taken back. The fight was over.

They got up.They shook on it. They ran off to play.


Problem solved. All was well. Life was good again.

Can it be that simple? Can we really take our words back?


*Ecclesiastes 5:2 says for us to let our words be few.

*Ephesians 4:29 says that we should use our communication to build others up.

*Proverbs 21:23 advises us to guard our tongues to keep ourselves from calamity.


And…calamity means causing great – and often sudden – damage, distress, or disaster.

That seems to indicate that perhaps the old adage, ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me,’ may not hold true. Words can hurt – a lot.


The two 12 year olds had not wanted to fight – and they were miserable doing so.


They actually were great friends – and had put their friendship in jeopardy – because of words. Words had gotten in the way. And as we all know, friendship is more than just words.


The boy on the bottom, groveling in the dirt – was eating his words for sure. He wanted to take them back – so he did.


The boy on top had initiated the pathway for ‘taking it back’ to happen.

His friend took the words back – and all was forgiven – and forgotten.

(Well, maybe not forgotten, since I remembered it 30 years later.)


So, how can we take it back?

*Decide what we need to take back.

*Decide how to take it back.



*No, I would not recommend the fight – but I would recommend the friendship.


*Ready? Set? Take it back!


Ann is a speaker and teacher. Contact her at annfarabee@gmail.com or annfarabee.com




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