When was the last time you used a proverb while you were speaking to someone else? I would bet that if I followed you around for a day, I would hear you repeat a popular proverb to get your point across to a person you were talking to.
Earlier today, when I started thinking about proverbs, I wondered when the last time was that I used a proverb to get a point across. As I was thinking about it, I realized that I had actually used a proverb earlier in the day when I was discussing the medical treatment that an injured client of mine needed.
When I met with my client, she told me that when she had an appointment with her doctor eight days earlier, he told her that his office was going to refer her to a physical therapist, and that they would set up the referral and call her with the name of the therapist. I told my client that my rule is that when a doctor agrees to make a referral to a physical therapist, if the client does not hear from the doctor’s office within three business days, it’s the client’s responsibility to call the doctor’s office and ask when the referral is going to be made. I tell my clients that when they make the first phone call to the doctor’s office, they need to write down the date, time, and the person they talked to. I then tell them to give the doctor’s office an additional three days and then call back again to remind them to make the referral. In the past, I’ve had clients who were still waiting for a phone call from the doctor’s office more than a month after the doctor told them that a referral would be made.
When I thought about the conversation I had with my client, I realized that I had used a proverb to emphasize the importance of continuing to call the doctor’s office every three days until the referral was made. The proverb was, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” I don’t remember who first said that proverb to me, but I do know that it came from one of the men on the Williams side of the family (probably my uncle Bill Williams). I also know that I learned the proverb when I was a young boy because it was spoken to me several times while I was growing up.
A good definition of the word “proverb” comes from the LiteraryDevices.net website, which defines a “proverb” as “a brief, simple, and popular saying, or a phrase that gives advice and effectively embodies a commonplace truth based on practical experience or common sense.”
The meaning of “The squeaky wheel gets the grease” is that when you wait patiently for something or for someone to do something for you, nothing usually happens. The things that you need to get accomplished usually get done much quicker when you repeatedly complain to and remind the person who needs to act on your behalf.
Can you think of 10 proverbs that you have heard or used in the past? You should be able to easily come up with 10 proverbs without thinking too hard, but just in case you’re drawing a blank, let me help you out with some well-known proverbs.
● Two wrongs don’t make a right.
● The pen is mightier than the sword.
● When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
● People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.
● Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
● Better late than never.
● Birds of a feather flock together (one of my mom’s favorite proverbs when she wanted to remind us about hanging around with the right people).
● There’s no such thing as a free lunch.
● The early bird catches the worm.
● God helps those who help themselves.
● Beggars can’t be choosers.
● Actions speak louder than words.
● If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
● Practice makes perfect.
● Easy come, easy go.
● Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
● One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
● There’s no time like the present.
● Necessity is the mother of invention.
● You can’t judge a book by its cover.
● Good things come to those who wait.
● Two heads are better than one.
● The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
● Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
● A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
● Honesty is the best policy.
● Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
● You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.
● If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.
● A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
● Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.
● Every cloud has a silver lining.
● Haste makes waste.
● Hindsight is always 20/20.
● If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
● If you snooze, you lose.
● If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all (another one of my mom’s favorites while I was growing up).
● A picture is worth a thousand words.
● Knowledge is power.
● A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.
What did I tell you? Even though you may have had trouble thinking of 10 Proverbs, I just gave you 40 popular proverbs, most of which you probably recognized.
What was it that caused me to think about proverbs? It was the recent news and paranoia that is associated with the newly discovered coronavirus. There were two proverbs that I thought about concerning the virus: “A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing” and “Knowledge is Power.”
We’re currently in the midst of what the media is saying could be a pandemic. Wikipedia.com defines “pandemic” as “an epidemic of disease that has spread across a large region; for instance, multiple continents, or worldwide.” Last week, Rush Limbaugh, the popular national radio talk show personality, insisted that the coronavirus is comparable to the common cold. In response to Rush’s comments, several scientists, epidemiologists, and healthcare experts insisted that Rush was wrong and was downplaying a serious problem.
Regardless of what you might think about the opinions of Rush and the so-called experts, with the internet at our disposal, we don’t have to simply accept the opinions of others. We can do our own research and come to our own conclusions. If we fail to use our God-given talents and critical-thinking skills to learn about certain things on our own, we can easily fall into the trap that the proverb, a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing, warns us about.
Considering the fact that my wife and I have seven children and 22 grandchildren, I thought it would be worthwhile to follow the “knowledge is power” proverb and do what is necessary to increase my knowledge about what the coronavirus really is and the dangers that may or may not lie ahead for all of us.
Next week, I’ll share some “power” (knowledge) with you by telling you everything you need to know (at the moment) about the coronavirus.