“Gems of wisdom” is the term I use in reference to the little expressions that I enjoy reading and sharing. They are short sentences that often speak volumes. I have shared some of my favorites in the past, and have even received some from the readers of this column. Today I’ll share a few more of these gems. I hope you enjoy them.

One of the problems many of us have is talking when we should be listening.  These gems of wisdom address this. “Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.” And remember “It is better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you a fool than to open it and leave no doubt.” The Second Street gang used this little phrase: “Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies; keep your mouth shut and you’ll catch no flies.”

There are other gems of wisdom that are related to raising children. We parents know it is a challenge. It doesn’t matter if they are five or fifty, they still need the experience of someone who has walked the walk of life. There is an old saying, “They step on your toes when they are little, and they step on your heart when they are grown.”

We have all heard this little gem: “Experience is the best teacher.” All of us have experienced some things we wished we never had to experience. But experience teaches us not to walk in that way again. I often give advice to my children when I see them heading in the wrong direction. It comes from my experiences, and I tell them they can learn from my mistakes and not make their own. If they decide to venture out on their own, my only warning is “If I see you driving over a cliff, at least I will yell for you to stop.”

Here’s another little gem.  “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” And another very similar to that which says “Foolish is he that does the wrong thing over and over and expects to get different results.” Experience is the best teacher, but only if you learn from it. And, of course you can learn from it by listening to someone older and wiser.

One of my pet peeves is listening to someone who knows they are wrong but keeps trying to talk and talk in an effort to make you believe they are right. The book of Proverbs is a collection of words to the wise, and one such gem deals with this subject. It is one of my favorites: “The wicked flee when no man pursueth.”  And it was Shakespeare who had his own interpretation, “Me thinks he doth protest too much.”  That’s pretty fancy language. Our Second Street gang just said, “The hen that laid the egg does the cackling.”

When it comes to living life, here are a few little gems to consider. “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive, well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other, with a body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming ‘Woo hoo, what a ride!’” Or to shorten that, “It is better to wear out than to rust.” I like this one a little better. You be the judge. “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would have not a single bit of talent left and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’”

And finally, I think this little prayer is the best gem of wisdom of all: “May your neighbors respect you, trouble neglect you, angels protect you, and heaven accept you.”

 

George Lusby is the former Scott County judge-executive. “The Best of Crawfish and Minnows,” is available at the News-Graphic office.

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