Proverbial Friday- Global Wisdom

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Each Friday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking.

I hope you will too.

No river can return to its source, yet all rivers must have a beginning.

 Native American Proverb


Are we really simply talking about a river here, or our inner yearning to be a child again, to be free of responsibility, to be carefree, unburdened and spontaneous?

We may not be able to start completely over, when things go badly, but we can start somewhere, and from there move forward. Do you agree?

Or could you think of another metaphorical application for this proverb?

The quote I have chosen this week also refers to the theme of childhood.


Painted  girlfriends Traffic light control boxes



Children are not things to be molded, but are people to be unfolded.”

Jess Lair, Author


What do you make of the words of Proverbial wisdom this Friday?

Are they Something to Ponder About?

Join in the discussion by leaving a comment. I would love to hear your thoughts.




24 thoughts on “Proverbial Friday- Global Wisdom”

  1. Oh, your proverbs are always wonderful, because they really leave a lot of freedom to think about!
    The Indian proverb is very clear. We can never go back, even if we still wish to. What happened is done and it changed us. every second we are a new “we” …. we are like a raindrop falling on the glass. Our beginning was determined, the way down is dependent on other drops, the wind, the way. Our way seems often more complicated and I think if it gets too complicated the desire for carelessness and spontaneity is very easy to understand. It is a reflection on the inner roots and desires and can be a new beginning.
    And of course, I do not see children as little people who need to be shaped, I’ve never seen them that way. It’s the opposite, children shape us. This miracle seizes us and astonishes us. Every day anew. We must suffer, learn and grow because these little people show us what we should be and can not be anymore. It is the ultimate goal to show children a way to get along in our world but to preserve their childlike qualities.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The poet in you shows in that glorious comment, Anie! ….like a raindrop falling on a glass!” Indeed we can control some things on our journey down through the sky, yet other things remain outside of our control: such things as the wind, sudden obstacles, or challenges in our path that will divert our trajectory and sidetrack us. Fighting them is most times impossible! Accepting and working with them is better – ie. a challenge viewed in this way can be a much less stressful approach.

      Easier of course said than done, but it is possible to see these experiences in a positive frame. What can we gain from these challenges? As so often with these proverbs, we can look deeper at the suggestion to view trials and tribulations in life, more positively. We know that we can not return to our childhood (the river source), but we all have this as our starting point from which we can find some kind of forward progression or personal growth. Which continues until our ultimate and final passage to the open sea water, which comes at the end of life. The river flows one way, one direction only, just as life itself. We all get older, most times a little wiser and if we view the twists and turns as natural life progressions, we might think of them as opportunities to see a diiferent view or perspective, (around each river bend).
      When we get disheartened with the burdens of life, it may be useful to re-examine our entire journey downstream, to reassure ourselves of the importance of each and every one of those bends that we navigated, as our challenges and turning points, through life that at the time made us who we are today. Why would we go back upstream? It would be counter to life itself and pointless. We might be successful in treading water in the same spot for a while but the current, an analogy for time, will move us forward nonetheless. A great life proverb.
      I do agree that heavy burdens make us yearn for simpler times. Times unburdened from responsibility. We look for spontaneity as a distraction from the repetition and banality of life. Do you wonder Anie whether spontaneity, itself, can only ever be permitted in the short term? For I believe if we lose self control of ourselves or our lives, and let spontaneity rule for too long, chaos results! Spontaneity as a new beginning, yes possibly that too. A refreshed outlook! An existential crises of sorts?
      I also agree with your comment in the quote. I have never seen children as a blank slate to be moulded although this was a popular school of thought in the sixties. Children do constantly challenge us to be better parents. Being a parent does often means we do suffer, learn and grow, as you suggested. It is sad if we kill that childlike spirit with adult responsibilities before the child’s own individual river current forges the child’s own life path to the sea. Children are of us but they are NOT us, they are a new mix of both their mother and father’s genes, as well as environmental influences from the society and the era they live in. Just as river banks become scoured on some bends much more than others, children grow into adults leaving a time stamp on the land as they pass by.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. oh what a wonderful answer. Many Thanks. It is not easy for me to think about such proverbs and to find a deeper meaning in them, because that is indeed a thing that I have never practiced in my life. But thinking in pictures is very easy for me and your comparison with the river is wonderful! I also think that accepting obstacles and tolerance to challenges is an important key to mastering your path. Seeing the flow as an analogy for the time makes a great sense here, we should not waste our strength clinging to tufts of grass, we should keep an eye on the direct path ahead of us and all rapids, all collisions and painful experiences were important because it has become part of us and thus has made us what we are. Oh yes, and spontaneity as a distraction can surely lead to chaos in the long run. Self-restraint, overview and planning are parts of life that bring security and control in the long term. Spontaneity as a life principle creates uncertainty in any case. Uncertainty creates fear and fear leads to reaching for grass blades and trying to stop time.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Trying to stop time. We know that it is impossible yet we lament that it has passed and look forward to its passing! Every time we think of it, it slips through our fingers and is gone!
          You have summarised well spontaneity. Some thrive on that and look for the next new “thing” in life. These are the people who admit that they get bored quickly. It can sometimes reflect a very frustrated soul, who is running away or hiding a deeper problem. Clutching at grass tufts will not provide security like acceptance and an attitude of working with the flow,

          Liked by 2 people

    1. I find the “unfold” very suitable. Of course, people are very much influenced by living conditions and influences, but the facilities that they bring into life are unchangeable. To discover and develop these oneself needs a lot of attention. If the parents do not have that attention and “only” impose their own experiences and preferences on the children, it may be very difficult for the children of adulthood to hear their own inner voice.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Unfolded could have several connotations, Peggy. A nice one is to think of a child blossoming into adulthood, developing with each skill or talent being slowly revealed or unwrapped with every life stage in the eyes of others? With a wrapped gift, it is hard to always guess what is inside, just as there isn’t always an obvious indication just what kind of adult the small child will become. Growing up and time passing is similar to unfolding the layers of wrapping. I’ll admit it isn’t the best word to use.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes the rhyme was convenient but rhyme only works in its indigenous language. If this was translated to another language, rhyme is extraneous. Sometimes, translators are able to translate and keep the rhyme and the general context, but mostly the deeper meaning is lost in translation. I am sometimes frustrated with reading Scandinavian novels that have been translated in a certain way in English.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. We can’t turn back time. But we all certainly had a beginning.
    And speaking of beginning, as the journey of life proceeds, are we molded by parents, friends and society? Or does our “destiny” unfold before our very eyes…?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I believe there is a variety of parenting styles. Some laid back, and at the opposite end some parents very hands on who control or restrict their children until they are old enough to spread their own wings. But even so, or valuesI think are moulded by or early experiences and primarily our parents As we grow, we might question and re evaluate or adjust these values.This is where friends, colleagues and society come more into force. Destiny implies we have no part to play in life’s journey, but even religion acknowledges man’s free choice.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. free choice and influencing life is important. To refer to a destiny means to escape responsibility. Our facilities, which we bring to life, determine something of our destiny. I see it as a magnet within us that determines our path, if we let it happen. To ignore this magnet is stupid, because it will take a lot of strength to defend against it, and yet we will always encounter situations or people, which have magnetic pull or push, who attract us more or repel us, and with each conscious decision to choose a direction, we will find new magnetic pulls or pushes.

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    1. I rather like the magnet analogy as I have definitely been exposed to some very strong repulling forces (pushes) and attractions (pulls) over the years!! But to bring this back to the river quote, each have contributed to the person I am today!

      Liked by 2 people

          1. and it can be very difficult to give these parts, which now consciously belong to us, their place in our lives and to align our lives accordingly.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Aligning our lives, that is a good expression. Something I will ponder about 🙂
              Btw, I have borrowed a few words from your comment in my poem that I have written for a poetry challenge I am co-hosting. I will post it tomorrow. I hope you like it and it does your words justice!

              Liked by 2 people

  5. “You can never stand in the same river twice is one I’ve read.” Heraclitus. Same idea. Everything changes and no matter how familiar a place is, it is different each moment. As for childhood, I never, ever want to go back to it. I’m not a person who looks back with longing, only forward with hope.
    I like the quote about allowing children to unfold rather than be molded. I believe we need to model good values and caring behavior but each child is unique and themselves. You can’t make them something they are not and expect them to be happy adults. Great quotes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. How true are those words you said, Marlene. You can’t make them something they are not and expect them to be happy adults. I will say it again, They are of us, but are NOT us!! So how can we expect them to do as we did?
      I am also not so surprised that you don’t look backwards, but rather forwards, so that the sun will always be on your face! ( or so says a Norwegian proverb). Heraclitus’ quote does reiterate a similar concept as the river bottom and course, is constantly changing, as we all have the potential to do, with every passing day.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the mention and the wonderful fiction, Prior! This quote had much to think about it, if were are open to it. Being open means also feeling free to say what needs to be said. It is crazy to stay quiet simply to be polite. Resentment builds and a lack of assertiveness leads to a decline in self esteem. Speak up!!

      Liked by 1 person

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