Proverb Problems

A proverb is a pithy saying that teaches a bit of wisdom. The meaning is supposed to be understood on a profound level.

But what happens when the proverb is not understood?

For instance, “a stitch in time saves nine” was easily understood when people actually mended their own clothes with a handheld needle and thread.  Who does that anymore?

Much of the wisdom of ancient sacred texts comes from proverbs and parables. Do we always understand them correctly?  Definitely not.

Being aware of this, we need to be able to say “I don’t get it” and remain open to learning more from other sources.

“The parents have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge” is one of those problem proverbs that requires the experience of eating sour grapes before you can appreciate it.  Generally it means that when parents make poor decisions the children suffer for it.  It is one of those sayings that parents need to keep in mind and children need to stop using as an excuse for their own poor decisions.

Which brings me to the second problem with proverbs – misdirecting them.  A proverb or a parable is supposed to touch your heart and teach you a truth, not give you ammunition to use against someone else.

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