Each culture has its set of proverbs that teach a lesson for a good life and learning things as you go through life. The meaning of each proverb is different for each person interpreting it, and has a different effect on each person. A proverb that means something to me might not mean anything to the person sitting next to me or those of you reading this. Proverbs and sayings from different cultures can teach a lot about not just that culture and the people, but also us. The Chinese culture has many proverbs they live by; some we know others not so much. We tend to associate wisdom and knowledge with the Asian culture; mainly the Chinese; why is that? We take a look at Chinese proverbs and see something so profound and inspirational, that sometimes the saying or proverb sticks with us. Here are some that have stuck with me; maybe they will stick with you as well.
“A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark” – There is another saying “it takes a village to raise a child,” this proverb reminds me of that because every person who comes in contact with a child leaves an impact whether they remember it or not. Every person leaves their mark, leaves something that helps develop them as a person. Something we all need to ask ourselves and remember is if we want our mark to be positive or negative for that child. We are who we are today partly because of the people who have come and gone from our lives.
“A gem is not polished without rubbing, nor a man perfected without trials” – No matter who we are, where we live, how old we are, we go through trials throughout life. We have moments of struggle and heartache. Those moments help us grow, show us our strength and abilities that we didn’t realize existed. We do not become the people we are, the strength we are without having to through these hardships. It seems never ending, but that is the only way we will become what we were meant to become.
“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow” – How many of us are quick to anger? Quick to respond and react when we are angry rather than be patient calm ourselves down before reacting and saying or doing something? When we take that time to calm ourselves and let that moment of anger pass we can think clearer and see a better way to handle the situation instead of making it worse and turning it into something of sorrow. When we have patience we are able to avoid causing extra sorrow to the situation and/or our lives. There is a reason we are told to count to ten when angry, we need to be able to think clearly so we don’t act irrationally, being patient in that moment helps us think logically can handle it the best way possible without having regrets.
“One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade” – This one had me thinking for a little while. Whatever our generation does effects every generation after us. Think about that for a minute or two. What kind of legacy do we want to leave for future generations? What we teach, what we plant, what we do and listen to, watch all effect what the next generation is going to be like. Because we are so dependent on technology now, future generations might not learn handwriting because it would be considered obsolete. What we plant now will flourish in the future whether it is something good or something bad. That is something we should think about.
“A fall into a ditch makes you wiser” – This one somewhat goes hand in hand with the proverb about the gem. No matter the path we are on in life, we will stumble and fall. It is inevitable. But because you fell into the ditch you learn how to get out of it. You learn how to climb above the fall and become stronger because of it. You become a wiser person and know the signs to notice that you are about to fall into a ditch. Sometimes they are clear signs, other times you will fall into the ditch again, but then learn from that ditch.
Throughout every culture and throughout life there is always something to learn about oneself as well as the world around us. We read and learn about things and grow as individuals. Learning from a different cultures helps cultivate an understanding within ourselves; we grow, we understand and are able to withstand certain things in life because of things we have learned, read, or even heard from other people and places. Chinese proverbs are probably one of the more known set of proverbs, and they do stick with you once you read them. Maybe that’s why fortune cookies are so popular in the Eastern culture.