For our Joseph lesson I also did an object lesson about hurtful words, using a tube of toothpaste to illustrate the point. I started by squeezing out toothpaste onto a plate while I talked about how Joseph’s brothers hated him and probably said some mean things about and to him. I gave a few examples of things his brothers may have said:
- “I hate you!”
- “Your coat is stupid!”
- “Go away and leave us alone!”
- “Be quiet–nobody wants to listen to you!”
- “You’re such a baby! Everyone knows father loves you the most!”
You can give the kids a turn squeezing out some toothpaste, too.
Once the toothpaste was all squeezed out, I got a spoon and asked the kids to put the toothpaste back in the tube. They each took a turn trying but got very little back in. I talked about how it’s difficult to take back our hurtful words, too. Once they’re out of our mouths and have been said, we can’t just take them back (just like we couldn’t put the toothpaste back in).
I think this is a great visual to help kids understand that once they’ve said something hurtful, it can’t just be taken back. Even if they apologize, their unkind words are still remembered.