Proverbial Envy


Thomas Aquinas, the 13th century theologian, described envy as “sorrow at another’s good.”  Recently my friend and fellow DadPad blogger, Roger Thompson, stirred up a kind of envy in me I hadn’t realized I possessed.  A proverbial envy.


Speaking to a gathering of men, Roger explained how his father would encourage him to consider new ways of looking at things.  “I want to stretch your six-inch mind around a seven-inch idea,” his dad would say.  What a great saying!  I could use that with my own kids. Then, in almost an apologetic tone, Roger said, “he often repeated a lot of sayings like that.”


Well, that comment made me think of my dad.  And all envy broke loose. My dad’s proverbial pearls of wisdom couldn’t hold a candle to Roger’s. He had only two, that I can remember. If someone in our family lost something, he’d retort: “You’d lose your head if it wasn’t tied on you.”  That’s a nice word picture.  Or, if someone told him that they weren’t hungry, he’d respond: “You eat to keep from getting hungry.” I followed that one far too often.


Proverbial sayings are powerful because they are easily remembered—long after they are first uttered. Of course, the best proverbial wisdom comes from the Bible.  Most are in the book bearing that name—Proverbs.  You don’t have read very far in Proverbs before you discover it was written to kids. “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction” (Proverbs 1:8).  It’s thirty-one chapters packed with pithy truths passed from father to child.


Proverbial envy arouses the appetite. Having grown up proverbially starved, I could use your help. What proverbial pearls of wisdom are you passing on to your kids? Got any nuggets to share?


3 Responses to “Proverbial Envy”

  1. Jeff Abramovitz Says:

    It wasn’t from my dad but I constantly recall this one, “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got”.

  2. Ron Edmondson Says:

    I like the one you’ve added already. I always like “More of the same will not produce change”.

    Also, the one that my mom gave me out of high school: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” I’ve tried to live by that one.

  3. Leary Gates Says:

    @Jeff: Thanks partner! That could explain a lot for me. 🙂
    @Ron: Good quote from your mom. Thanks for sharing it!

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