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Let Your Head Be More Than a Funnell to Your Stomach

My childhood was filled with so-called "wise old sayings." These were succinct phrases that projected the perceived truisms of life. They were passed down through the generations as teachings, reprimands, and messages of hope.

I am at least one generation ahead of most of the people with whom I work and this is never more obvious to me than when I choose one of these

adages to sum up a situation or offer some advice about a current challenge. "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water" is a particular favourite of mine. I can see my listeners mentally rolling their eyes while they maintain a respectful silence. One might imagine they are asking themselves, "What does that have to do with anything?"


Another favourite of mine is the tried and true, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." What about that old motivator, "The early bird gets the worm"?

Come to think of it there was a lot of bird imagery in those folksy pearls of wisdom. My literary instincts always perked up when someone said, "You can't judge a book by its cover." I knew this to be true from a purely literal sense because some of my best books were pretty dog-eared but they were the product of many hours of pleasure. Figuratively speaking, it probably took me several years to understand what this meant.

Throughout my life I have found many of these old sayings to be quite accurate. They can capture human nature to a tee. They have been honed from human experience and the wisdom has been teased out as a reminder to all that our choices have consequences or that some things are just predictable.

I imagine many people have jumped into one financial adventure after another that resulted in the wry observation, "A fool and his money are soon parted."

Alternately, it has been observed that a negative experience can often have a hidden benefit, as in, "Every cloud has a silver lining."

How many parents have expressed the concern, "A leopard does not change his spots" as their beloved offspring blindly ignores the warning signs of a troublesome romantic attachment? The message is to, "Look before you leap" because, if you are planning to change your mate after marriage, you should know that you can, "lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink."

My father was fond of saying, "Better late than never" and my grandmother's favourite method of encouraging me to do things right the first time was to call out, "A stitch in time saves nine."

I realize now that many of these well-worn sayings are representative of a belief system that embedded values about people and life.

I'll leave you with two that make the point for me. "A good mind is a terrible thing to waste" and "It takes a village to raise a child."