Proverbs are life’s little guides. But, they often seem so ridiculous.
What does this mean? “Food for thought!” Honestly? Never happened. It’s more like “Food for weight”! That’s been my experience!
How about this one? “Cleanliness is next to godliness!” I’ve been clean for years! Haven’t been deified yet!
“The grass is always greener on the other side.” Not if you have my gardener. Patchy everywhere!
“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Why would anyone do that?
“A watched pot never boils!” Simply not true. Boils all the time!
” There’s no place like home.” Some reactions to this include:
- Oh yeah -Ask a teen?
- Been to a five-star hotel?
“The early bird catches the worm”. Probably. But who wants a worm?!
“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!” Why would I?
” A picture is worth a thousand words.” Who cares? What am I going to do with a 1000 words? I’d rather have like a Picasso, worth at least a million dollars!
And look at how this other saying complicates that one, “Action speaks louder than words”. So just out of curiosity, what is the ratio of the picture to the action?!
“Easy come easy go”. Not with all the traffic these days! Maybe, Waze or Google maps helps things. But no one would say easy!
” The pen is mightier than the sword.” Never saw a pen used in a duel.
“Two heads are better than one!” Ummmm – No thank you! I’ve never seen anyone go for this idea!
And if they did they’d need to meet someone who believes “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder!”
“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch”. What math genius made this statement? I think they mean don’t count your eggs; you certainly know how many chickens you have, before they hatch!
“Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” But this is probably the only time you possibly could. After all, what other hand gets near your mouth?
“Beggars can’t be choosers!” Has the author of this proverb been to the streets of New York? Some person, seemingly living on the streets asked me for ice-cream. I said “I’m running late for my sabbath! Can I give you money to get some?” They replied, “I asked for ice cream” and summarily rejected the money! That sounds like a choice to me!
“If you want something done right you have to do it yourself.” How wrong is this one on so many levels?
- My house would be falling apart with no plumber, electrician, builder. Are they kidding?
- Anyway, even if it were true. If I had to do everything myself, I’d say “right” is overrated!
Finally, what about this one -“A stitch in time saves nine”. I thought of becoming an EMT. But then I realized I could save more lives if I stayed home and sewed!!
So now that we’ve seen how ridiculous these proverbs are, what are they all about? Let’s talk about literal verses metaphorical, figurative, proverbial. Literal uses a word in its most basic or usual sense. But a metaphor allows us to stretch.
And-We all could use a good stretch!!!
So, let’s take a saying like” don’t judge a book by its cover.” Literally – Who wouldn’t?! The industry pays a lot cause they know we do!!!!
So that’s where the metaphor comes in. It makes us think, or review past experiences. It makes us stretch – and think, remember the book cover can be deceptive. Ah’ha – So too the packaging of a human being. The same way books have fooled you-a great cover has belied a bad story…. We should give people more of a chance! The metaphor wakes you up to a meaningful image!
So… Go back, and look at all the messages behind each proverb, and you’ll probably find there’s real -“food for thought”! Calories on me!
Rivki Rosenwald is a certified relationship counselor, and career and life coach. She can be contacted at 917-705-2004 or firstname.lastname@example.org