Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged. (Col 3 – NLT)

Men…we are the ones who need to be the grownups. You can not expect a child caught tragically in the middle to respond with maturity. A final lesson from this sad episode. Words are toxic. James wrote this hard truth.

People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.

I was spanked and punished as a child. I can only vaguely remember those events. But I can vividly recall the hurtful words that were said. That is the saddest part of battles like this very public dispute. I know nothing about these celebrity parents. I don’t know their motives or hearts. But I do know that the war of words is most likely damaging to a young soul.  My heart aches for the child. I pray that we can learn from this sad story about how vital it is to realize the power of words.

I related a story in my book, “Bring’em Back Alive”, about a little boy with a terrible temper. His father gave him a big bag of nails and instructed him to hammer a nail into the fence every time he lost his temper. After the first day over three dozen nails were hammered into the fence. But as the days went by the little boy began to control his temper more and more. One day the boy realized that he was no longer driving nails into the fence. When he proudly told his father he was given the new task of pulling out one nail for every day he continued to hold his temper. Finally all of the nails were removed. The father took his son out to the fence. "You have done a great job, son. But look at the holes in the fence. This fence will never be like it was before. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can stick a knife in a person and no matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there. A verbal wound is just as bad as a physical one."

Words do damage and they leave a scar. Give us the compassion to pray for this child caught in a public crossfire. For the rest of us, especially in the wake of the tragedy at Virginia Tech, love your children and let them know it. Discipline gently and in love. And watch your tongue. It is a lethal weapon when wielded in anger.

Dave Burchett is an Emmy Award winning television sports director, author, and Christian speaker. He is the author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People and Bring'em Back Alive: A Healing Plan for those Wounded by the Church. You can reply by linking through daveburchett.com