I was 7 years old in the 4th grade. I was one of two 4th graders in my sister's 5th grade class. So I was 7 in a class of 9/10/11 year olds. My sister was 9. At that age, 2 to 3 years is a big age difference.
One of my sister's friends asked my mother to pack her a lunch for a field trip. The little girl had come to our house early the morning of a school field trip to get her lunch and I overheard.
Sometime later in the year, the girl upset me and I told her, in a few words, that her mother wouldn't or couldn't make her a lunch. The girl broke down and cried. I don't know if her mother had a habit or just had a financial situation that prevented her from packing a lunch for her daughter.
I knew my words would hurt the girl, but I was not prepared for her response. (My mother was the go to mom in the neighborhood. If a working mom forgot to pack a lunch or if a kid needed something they would tell their kid to go to my mother. Asking my mom was not unusual) Even at 7, I recognized my gift. I could read people well. I could sense things about them. My curse was my tongue and how cruel it could be. Fortunately I also had the sense to apologize and not revel in being nasty.
I was 7 when I called my grandmother and told her I wanted to be nice and did not want to use my words to hurt people. My grandmother told me God could deliver me. She told me that many people had natural inclinations that were wrong, but God could deliver. She instructed me to talk to God and tell him what I wanted to change about my ways.
After that I still had the gift of a sharp tongue but I had the sense and the restraint not to use it. I would rather someone say something crazy to me and I ignore it or deflect versus my responding with cruelty and living with regret of saying unkind things.
I still feel bad about my comment to the little girl in elementary. I was never a name caller. I identified a weakness and hit there.
There are times when I make a decision to strike where I know it will hurt. It's wrong but it's controlled, and limited. Other times I may offend without intent to offend. I don't like to hurt feelings but I can live with myself when people find offense where none was meant.
My gift of sensing folks emotions works great in jury trials. I think TR shares that ability but she currently uses her gifts for good. She is a nurturer by nature. Perhaps it's the nature of eldest siblings.
I thought about my grandmother tonight/ this early morning as I showered. Did she know how awesome her gift of prayer was to me? I was 7, yet she did not baby me or tell me I would grow out of my ways nor did she tell me I was required to exist in my ways.
Her gift to me was manyfold. She acknowledged that my behavior was wrong. She let me know that I could change and that I could be better in anything. She let me know that people have things they need change. I wasn't an anomaly.
I am grateful that God granted me control over my instinct to use my tongue to hurt. There is life or death in the tongue and that lesson was easier learned at 7 years old, than as an adult who speaks cruel, unkind words and does not know it, does not care or cannot control it. I feel bad for adults who intentionally try to be mean or hurtful. There are better ways to express hurt, frustration or disagreement.
I am blessed because at 7, I knew being verbally cruel was not anything to admire. Social media has shown me that many, many adults think being unkind to others is fun and admirable. What others do, does not alter what I know to be right. Thank God for deliverance and the ability to identify my own faults.