Archived Story

Words to live by

Published 4:28pm Saturday, October 26, 2013

QUESTION: I remember my grandmother’s wise sayings, like “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Those sayings have helped me make better decisions all my life. Do other cultures have similar wisdom sayings that guide decisions and behavior?

ANSWER: Elders all over the world pass on the wise principles of their culture by proverbs. It’s interesting how often the meanings of various sayings are the same world-wide, even though the specific sentences differ. Here are a few proverbs that will be fun to share with the kids in our families.

“He makes a wine cellar from one raisin.” (Lebanon) “He makes a mountain out of a mole hill.” (United States)

“You can force a man to shut his eyes, but you can’t make him sleep.” (Denmark) “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” (United States)

“A little in our own pocket is better than much in another’s purse.” (Spain) “A sparrow in the hand is better than a rooster on the roof.” (Russia) “One bird in the hand is better than two in the bush.” (United States)

“If you climb up a tree, you must climb down that same tree.” (Ghana) “What goes up, must come down.” (United States)

“From the rain into the gutter.” (Germany) “From the frying pan into the fire.” (United States)

“My house burned down, but it was a relief the bedbugs died.” (Korea) “Every cloud has a silver lining.” (United States)

“Even a tiger will appear if you talk about him.” (Korea) “”Speak of the devil and he will appear.” (United States)

“He who is not in sight, is not in the heart.” (Tanzania) “Out of sight, out of mind.” (United States)

“Two captains sink the ship.” (Japan) “Too many cooks spoil the soup.” (United States)

“By trying often, the monkey learns to jump from the tree.” (Zaire) “Practice makes perfect (or, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.)” (United States)

“I will not cry over a mishap and injure my eyes.” (Tanzania) “It is no use to cry over spilt milk.” (United States)

“A person who arrives early to the spring never gets dirty drinking water.” (Zaire) “The early bird gets the worm.” (United States)

“As you cooked the porridge, so must you eat it.” (Russia) “As you sow, so shall you reap.” (United States)

“Every seed knows its time.” (Russia) “All in good time.” (United States)


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