Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mind Your Tongue

 I was rolling out pie crust the other day and had a flashback of myself as a pre-teen sitting in my neighbour's kitchen while she demonstrated the art of pasty making.  There were eight or ten of us, all members of a 4-H homemaking club.  The leader, my neighbour, was having trouble with the pie crust.  It kept tearing.  She was doing her best to instruct us girls on the finer points of pastry while trying to repair the holes that appeared in her pie crust.  A school chum sitting next to me snickered behind her hand and made rude comments.
    Our neighbour was a busy farm wife with hundreds of tasks awaiting her attention.  She received no monetary recompense for teaching a batch of smart-aleck school girls.  She didn't even have a child of her own to benefit from the 4-H club.  She deserved our gratitude, not our ridicule.
     The Bible is rife with  instructions to guard our speech. James 3:8, Matt 12: 36-37Ephesians. 4:291 Peter 3;10Ps 34:13, to reference a few. 
          As writers, I think we need to keep those warnings in mind.  Whether we write for a Christian market, or the general market, we write from a Christian world view.  Of course we want realistic characters, we want villains and we want to speak into the world around us, but we can make sure that our villains are not heroes and our heroes are not villains.  The entertainment world has blurred that line so much it is often unrecognizable.  A protagonist with a foul tongue, is not a hero, in my view.  A character who indulges in spiteful gossip is not a heroine -- she is a flawed character who needs to be redeemed.  That would make a good story, don't you think?
       Malicious talk is ungodly, it is damaging to the community and it is hurtful to the victim.  What I realized, as I rolled out pie crust, some fifty years later, is that a nasty tongue is harmful to the speaker as well.  That incident has stuck in my mind all these years, and my memory of my school chum has been tarnished forever by her unkind words.  
      I remember telling my pal to hush lest she be heard.  I wish I had told her to hush because she was doing wrong. Col 3:16.
The characters in our books should do no less.

Alice Valdal lives in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, where harvest time has come early.  As well as pies, she's making jams, jellies, relish, . . . Visit her at  www.alicevaldal.com or at  facebook.com/#!/alice.valdal.5

Published Books.


  1. Very true, Alice. We can't ever take back carelessly spoken words. At least without our characters, we can edit what they say before we send them out into the world! They get the chance of a do-over, we don't.

  2. I wish someone could edit my tongue. I never intend to hurt someone, but too often I do with my thoughtless words. Thank you, Alice, for this reminder.

  3. Excellently written, Alice. Thank you.

  4. Well said, Alice. Thanks for sharing with us :)

  5. Oh our little pink muscle can be just like the Bible says, the spark to set off a roaring fire. Sanctified commonsense, dear Alice. Thanks.

  6. Thanks all for your comments. I must say, despite my teenaged self, I make a pretty good pie crust. With berry season in full swing here, we're eating blueberry pie, blackberry pie and strawberry rhubarb pie. Each bite reminds me to guard my tongue.