Sure, everyone loves proverbs. If you go to any bookstore you can easily find many books with proverbs that can help you learn life-lessons and get you through tough times. What is a proverb, you ask? Well, even proverb scholars are loath to admit that there is little consensus about the definition of a proverb.
“Where there is a will, there is a way.”
This is an easily identifiable proverb.
“Where’s the beef?”
This is clearly not a proverb. Proverbs are different from clichés, maxims, and slogans. In the end, the definition of a proverb is usually summed up as a short statement that contains some piece of wisdom, truth, or lesson.
But did you know you could make your own proverbs? Actually, it’s quite easy. I’ll show you how.
First, let’s try to make a proverb out of a problem you’ve learned to overcome. Can you think of one? Now take what you’ve learned and state it in a colorful, illustrative way. Remember not to make it too long. I have a lesson I learned and here is the proverb I created out of it:
“Remember to read the labels on clothing. It is the only voice they have to keep from shrinking or bleeding.”
How did you do? Good! Next, let’s take something that you worry about and create a proverb that will help you to overcome it. Let me help. I have a worry that I am sure everyone has. I get embarrassed when people on the magazine covers that I keep beside my toilet are looking in my direction. So here is what I came up with:
“Keep magazines in the bathroom facedown, so the people on the cover don’t sneak a peek.”
See, isn’t this fun! Of course, I have other worries that I use proverbs to help me out with. I am not shy about it. Everyone has worries. In fact, the best way to overcome them, I’ve been told too many times, is to be frank and admit to them. Here is another proverb that has helped me:
“Turn off and unplug the coffee maker in case the devil lives in its circuitry and wants to burn down your apartment.”
Now, I don’t really believe that the devil exists, at least not in a form that would live in my coffee maker. I’m not that silly.
How about this proverb:
“The clock on the wall does not keep time to your heartbeat.”
I know everyone can relate to that! What about:
“All door locks should be checked each night in case their insidious lazy ways make them let go and then just about anyone can walk in to sit on your comfortable couch.”
See how proverbs can be helpful in your life? And, it’s not just to help you with your pesky little worries. No, you can use proverbs to teach future generations so they can learn the things you learned quicker than it took you to learn them. But I mostly use them to keep my head on straight:
“The cat is, in fact, a cat.”
Not that I get that one confused too often… mostly. What about:
“Bad checks do not ring your doorbell at 3 a.m. and then hide in the bushes—they come in nice white envelopes from the friendly bank.”
And, my current favorite, which my friend, Dave, is having printed up on some bumper stickers so I can sell them at the bazaar to help pay my rent:
“The squirrels in the attic are not chewing through the ceiling and stealing your dirty socks to make warm homes.”
Good luck and have fun with proverbs!