I’m not sure if most of you are like me, where you have that tightening in your belly when you hear a statement quoted incorrectly or a word used wrongly. Call me trifling if you will, but those errors of omission or commission tend to get to me… and the thing is, not just in others but especially myself.
I have been wondering how many things have been told differently over time and in effect have either lost their original intended meaning or acquired a whole new meaning in and of themselves?
How many old wives’ tales have been repeated so many times that they have been regarded as truth? Do you know how long the sun was thought to be going round the earth until Nicolaus Copernicus showed the world otherwise?
I bet you’ve heard of the saying – “blood is thicker than water” thrown around often when someone is trying to prove the importance of blood relations over all others, or “A jack of all trades is a master of none” being thrown at those who would rather be knowledgeable in a variety of fields than pursue mastery in only one. Or even the one used mostly to admonish people to shun curiosity – “curiosity killed the cat”.
These sayings have been used for so long that most people don’t really know that what has been shared is normally a portion of the actual statement and if it was to be provided in its entirety the meaning and its subsequent use would really change.
In the church, where the call “… to study to show yourself approved, a workman who doesn’t need to be ashamed, rightfully handing the word of truth” 1 Tim 2:15 should be heeded.
I normally hear the verse from Matthew 7:1 “… do not judge and you will not be judged” being thrown around to discourage people from setting themselves as a standard over others but I normally wonder if in its context it has a different meaning altogether?
Matthew 7:2 continues “…for in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” So, the idea here is not to judge entirely but to be comfortable with the same standard you use to judge being used to judge you. But how many ever look at that verse that way?
So where exactly am I going with all this?
“Myth becomes myth not in the living but in the retelling”
This is just a call to interrogate the truths we have been told or learnt along our journey of fatherhood, some of them might have been true while we grew up but have lost their relevance in the times in which we raise our children.
A commitment to LEARNING, UNLEARNING AND RE-LEARNING is essential if we are to remain relevant and impactful in what we do as dads.
“The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb” is the actual saying which goes to show the importance of friendships what are not blood related; totally different from how it’s normally used. RIGHT? use that at your next family gathering when you bring that controversial friend over.
“Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back”, curiosity isn’t a bad thing after all or is it?
“A jack of all trades is a master of none though often better than a master of one”. Knowing something about everything is better than knowing everything about just one thing, or would you rather not?
What other expressions do you know of that are quoted wrongly and have a totally different meaning in full? Share them in the comments.