Amy Beth Gardner had no idea that a mishap with her toothpaste would lead to a teaching moment for her 11-year-old daughter, Breonna. After trying to clean up the toothpaste that busted out of the side of tube, Gardner had an idea.
"You know, I can't get it back in the tube," Gardner thought to herself. "And then I thought that's the message I want to give my daughter. That once you say something hurtful it's very difficult to take it back, if not impossible."
Gardner wants Breonna to understand that the things she might say to people can't be taken back, like the lost toothpaste.
"We can all remember a time that somebody has been cruel to us or said something that hurt us. We can also remember when we have said things to hurt others," says Gardner.
She admits she's been guilty of the latter. She also believes her message is especially important to Breonna and her 7-year-old sister, Bridgett. Gardner and her husband, Paul, adopted the girls. She says their previous family life was traumatic. Having missed out on their early years, Gardner wants as many teachable moments as possible.
"I didn't know them when they were babies. I didn't know them when they were toddlers. I didn't take Breonna to her first day of Kindergarten," adds Gardner.
She says Breonna understands the toothpaste message. What she didn't expect was that her Facebook post about it would go viral after a friend convinced her to make it public.
"We've heard from from teachers who have done this in their classrooms. From youth pastors who are doing this with their youth groups," says Gardner.
It even made the Today Show's Facebook page.
Gardner says she doesn't expect her daughters to be perfect. She just wants them to have positive futures.
"While it's certainly an idea that other people have had before, we're glad to pass it along," says Gardner.
Gardner continues to receive calls from national media outlets about airing her story on radio, Facebook accounts, and web sites. It still surprises her, but she's happy her message is having an impact.