Gossip is a terrible thing. It can destroy people and lives. Many people don’t realize how terrible gossip is and sometimes they don’t even realize that what they are saying is gossip. Even something small can start a big rumor and hurt people. Even something that was “confidential” can spread.
Gossip is defined as “idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others”. You might say “I don’t gossip, I think gossip is a terrible thing”. Think before saying that though. How about that comment you made about your classmate’s new hairdo, or the text you sent about how long you had to wait for a group member to arrive. Bad words are like feathers in the wind, they spread fast and far. Even if the person you are talking about doesn’t ever hear it, it’s still wrong. How would you feel if everyone was talking about a punishment you got, or how you look so “nerdy?”
In the book Courtyard of Dreams, one man lost his business because of gossip. The same person who had previously been looked at as a fine man, was degraded, all because of a rumor. One person saw something and had to tell someone else. Soon the whole town was talking. He was forced to shut his shop down and he lost any source of income. You might not think your small comment can do anything that bad, but you don’t know how other people feel. To them it might feel as if their whole world has come crashing down.
Before you say something about someone else, or send a text, think first: Will this help someone? If the answer is no, then it’s better left unsaid. Think about how you would feel if someone said that about you. Don’t kid yourself and say, “It wouldn’t hurt me, I’m not so touchy.” You don’t have to be someone who gets hurt by every little thing to be hurt by gossip.
Remember, you can always say something, but you can never take words back.
—Chaya Gurevitz, Age 12
Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh
West Virginia, USA