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The last two years of High School were happy ones. Apart from one girl, my whole class was “koshuisbrakke” and how we pitied Shirley for not being a boarder. Yes, we truly did.

The week always started with Assembly in the Main Hall Everyone filed in to the tune of “When the Saints Go Marching in” which I would merrily thump out on the piano in the corner of the stage. Next, I would take my seat on a chair next to the piano and with hands devoutly folded on my lap, would listen with probably only one ear as the principal, at the lectern, did a Bible reading.

Then, one morning, my beloved Afrikaans teacher did the reading. Why? I have no idea. But because it was a break with the normal, I sat up and really listened. It was about gossip and the harm it could do. I truly knew nothing about any stories making the rounds. As the only Music Major in my class, every spare moment found me at the piano with very little time for socializing with my peers, except at bedtime and then we were all too tired.

But that reading has come back to haunt me and with firsthand experience of what gossip can do to your child, I often find myself back in that Assembly so many years ago.

James 3:5-8

5) Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.

6) The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

7) All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind.

8) But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

For my Afrikaans-speaking friends that still own an Afrikaans Bible,

Jakobus 3:5-8.

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