Here's an important tidbit of Christian parenting advice: Help your child understand that the tongue wields tremendous power and must therefore be controlled.
• “Take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts” (James 3:4).
• “Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell” (James 3:5-6).
What do we learn from these verses?
The tongue is small but influential. The tongue is petite but powerful.
• A rudder is small, yet it determines which direction the ship goes in.
• A spark is small, yet it can set a whole forest on fire.
In the same way, the tongue is a small organ, but it can have tremendous influence — for good or bad.
~ Shortcut to Understanding ~
Free free to share this story with your child:
(It will help to have a tube of toothpaste for this illustration.)
Pretend that you are a tube of toothpaste. Every time you speak a word, that’s like a little toothpaste coming out of the tube. When you say a lot of words, that’s a lot of toothpaste coming out of the tube. Whether you say nice words or hurtful words, that’s like toothpaste coming out of the tube.
Now, let’s pretend that you say some hurtful words to someone. (Squeeze the tube so some toothpaste comes out.) Later you’re sorry and wish you hadn’t said those bad words. But can we take those words back? Can we put the toothpaste back into the tube?
No, we can’t. Once the toothpaste comes out of the tube, it’s out forever. And that’s the way our words are. Once we speak them, they’re out for good. The damage is done.
That’s why it’s so important to watch what we say before we say it. The tongue is small — but is must be controlled. If we don’t control it, it does damage that we can’t undo.
Learning to control the tongue is unquestionably one of the most important lessons your child can learn. His or her success throughout life will largely be dependent on this one issue.
 Adapted from JoAnne E. De Jonge, All-Occasion Object Lessons (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1996), p. 108.
— Dr. Ron Rhodes