Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Kids These Days. . .

No, I don't think the world is going to Hell on a rollerskate or in a handbasket or on the back of a fleabitten hound. And generally when somebody makes a snarky comment about "kids today" in front of me, I just consider the source and let it go. See, I think kids to day are doing exactly what we did at their age-- coping the best they can with the world they're handed.

So when a study came out not long ago saying that our kids were "wisdom deprived" I was tempted to ignore the article as just another Chicken Little predicting we'd all be covered in "sky" by the end of the day, week, year, decade. . . Then something caught my eye in the article: the word proverbs.

I LOVE proverbs. They're nuggets of wisdom and cultural meaning passed down in palatable little chunks that make you exercise your brain and connect with the stream of human development. In other words: they tickle me. In places I can't scratch.

For several years I've collected these things in books and on-line lists. . . used them in my own books. . . dragged them out at parties so pretentious snobs would leave me alone. . . You can see where this is going, right?

It's important that we pass these things along to the next generation. I mean, what if those two birds in the bush come home to roost and one bites the hand that doesn't know what the other hand is doing? So when the article said that high school students quizzed on the recognition and meanings of proverbs scored abysmally low. . . I finally began to worry about the next generation. These apples that seem to be falling too danged far from the tree!

Then I read something of the study and methodology and realized that we may have (in the worlds of our esteemed President) "misunderestimated" them. It seems that the creators of the study selected and used a bunch of old proverbs-- ones used over the course of the last two hundred years-- to test the youth. One particularly revealing comment from one of the researchers was that she was talking with a young person and referred to Franklin D. Roosevelt's "fireside chats". . . only to get a blank look. The "youth" didn't didn't know what she was talking about, ergo, kids today are dumber than owl doodie.

Aha! Now I see the problem with the study. Fireside chats were before my time too. And I honestly don't recall my parents mentioning them or using them to instruct me in any way. Maybe these "researchers" just used the wrong proverbs. How about sprinkling in a few modern-isms. . . current pithy sayings on their way to becoming the


I went on a search and came up with a surprisingly long list of candidates for addition to the Pantheon of Proverbs. Check these out and vote for your top choice for "Proverbs of Tomorrow" in our comments.

What goes up must come down.

Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

No good deed goes unpunished.

Sometimes you gets the bear; sometimes the bear gets you.

Buy low; sell high.

If you want your dreams to come true, don't oversleep.

Failure is the first step toward success.

Jumping to conclusions is not aerobic exercise.

Eat well, stay fit, die anyway.

Life's a bitch. . . and then you die.

It's easier to get forgiveness than permission.

Your mileage may vary.

If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Success is the best revenge.

The customer is always right.

There's no such thing as a free lunch.

If it' ain't broke; don't fix it.

For every action there is an equal and opposite government program.

To err is human; to really screw things up takes a computer.

No pain; no gain.

You snooze, you lose.

Shit happens.

The one who dies with the most toys wins.

Give 'til it hurts. Then give some more.

The heaviest thing to carry is a grudge.

What goes around, comes around.

My way or the highway.

It's not the years, it's the miles.

Wherever you go, there you are.

If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

Think outside the box.

It takes a village to raise a child.

Practice random acts of kindness.

Don't sweat the small stuff. And it's all small stuff.

It ain't over until the fat lady sings.

Life is what happens while you're making other plans.

Git'R done!

You get what you pay for.

It takes two to tango.

Garbage in; garbage out.

Different strokes for different folks.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Baseball is wrong; man with four balls cannot walk.

Okay that last one was a contribution from our Japanese affiliate. But I think it truly deserves a place on the list.

Which of these Proverbs-in-Training do you think will last? If you like more than one, that's fine-- just let us know. And if you've got one you want to nominate, let's hear it! The more the merrier! Wait-- I don't think that's a proverb, or is it?


Kylie said...

LOL, Betina! I recently told my oldest son 'what goes around, comes around' and he just cocked his head and asked, "What's that mean?"

My mom was from southern Kansas and she used to have sayings I'd never heard anywhere else. Oh, the ribbing she'd get when she'd come out with one.

But I have one pertinent one to add to your list:

Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug.

Playground Monitor said...

I should print this list off. I love it! Just the other day the DH and I were discussing something and I told him "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

I don't think the kids of today are any worse that kids of any other generation. Sadly we hear all about the ones who've murdered their parents or committed armed robbery, but not the ones who organize community programs or participate in 5K walks to raise money for medical research. And what about all the kids serving in a war started by politicians they weren't old enough to vote for?

Here's one for your list:

Every mother is a working mother.


Michele Hauf said...

I love your post, Betina. And I knew it was you before I got to the bottom and saw your name. Your voice rings true.

Anyway, I think the hubby's proverb is Git'R Done. I think I hear that at least once a day. I kinda like shit happens, myself. :-)


Betina Krahn said...

Kylie, I'm with your son on "What goes around..." because I didn't get it at first either. I'm so literal about these things. And my grandma from West Virginia (married four times and widowed three) said things like: "Men are like streetcars; you miss one, another'll come along in five minutes."

And I love the bug and windshield-- they're going on my list!

Marilyn, I'm with you on the kids; we hear about the rotten ones and don't hear about the great kids-- unless we're dragged to a graduation or something.

I love your saying about mothers! Ain't that the truth!

Betina Krahn said...

Michele, I can't believe how fast "Git'R done!" has caught on. I was almost embarrassed to add it to this list. But I love it and it seems to ring true with some many people. Your hubby is probably a sage-in-training. :)

And shit happens. It really does.

Cindy Gerard said...

Love the list Betina. At the moment I can't think of a thing to add - my fav is: If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Miranda Lambert uses that so effectively in her song: Crazy X Girlfriend. Cracks me up every time I hear it.

Helen Brenna said...

Oh, Betina, you make me laugh. Love this.

I saved some sayings a friend sent me a while back. I don't know that any of them will be the proverbs of tomorrow, but they made me chuckle.

I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

Don't take life too seriously; no one gets out alive.

You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me.

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

I'm not a complete idiot -- some parts are missing.

Out of my mind. Back in five minutes.

It IS as BAD as you think, and they ARE out to get you.

Consciousness: that annoying time between naps.

Ever stop to think, and forget to start again?

They call it PMS because Mad Cow Disease was already taken.

Betina Krahn said...

Cindy, I think I've heard that song! Great to hear our artistic community is getting behind Proverb Education! lol.

And Helen-- I love these! Especially the Beer and Beauty one and the PMS_Mad Cow thing. Just too good! I'm writing these all down!

Anonymous said...

Here's one of my favorites you might like to add to your already great list:

Get the facts before you react.


Debra Dixon said...

Betina-- How very profound. Seriously. Language is an organic thing. Wisdom is as well. It makes perfect sense that as the times change that new and more specific wisdom for the times we live emerges.

Duh. Really. It's a light bulb moment for me.

I know and use almost every "wisdom" on your list. And I'm pretty sure my kid absorbed those growing up.

One of my favorites is: Lead, follow or get out of the way.

One I use all the time is: Fix the problem, not the blame.

Betina Krahn said...

TerryS, boy, we could sure use that one: getting the facts before reacting! Thanks-- I'm putting that one down!

And Deb, I was surprised at how many of the older ones I ran into were things that my family used all the time when I was growing up. I must have had a real "traditional" semi-southern family.

And somehow I can see you with: Lead, follow or get out of the way. When you're a dynamo, the rest of the herd can be pokey and hard on the nerves. Fix the problem not the blame-- that one's going on my list, too!

Playground Monitor said...

After reading the more recent comments I remembered these:

If you ain't the lead dog, the view never changes.

Go braless; it pulls the wrinkles out of your face.

What if the hokey pokey IS what it's all about.

It's time to put on your big girl panties and deal with it.

I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once.


Debra Dixon said...

*the rest of the herd can be pokey*

Exactly! (g)

Anonymous said...

These are wonderful! I'll have to work hard to come up with something NOT here!

Keri Ford said...

It goes something like: If you can't run with the big dogs, then keep your ass on the porch.

All these are great. Being a southern, I hear a lot of these all the time. I'd like to know the goegraphical region of the kids they tested.

Betina Krahn said...

ArkansasCyndi, which one or ones do you like best? Any that resonate with you?

Keri, I do think there may be a bit more of the "wisdom of the elders" in southern climes. Or maybe it's just more open. I, too, remember hearing a lot of sayings when I was growing up! I don't recall hearing where their test subjects came from, but I bet your hunch is right. . . not southern.

flchen1 said...

Very cool, Betina! As a parent, I do agree that it takes a village!

One I remember is actually a marketing slogan--Just do it! Or Yoda's line--Do or not do; there is no try!

And I do like the one Marilyn had about putting on your big-girl panties! Quit your whining, everyone! ;)

Playground Monitor said...

The DH and I were watching the news earlier this evening and saw a story about someone complaining about being arrested. I turned to him and said, "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time."

Remember Baretta? I know. I'm dating myself.

Betina Krahn said...

Flchen1, I rember that slogan-- Just Do It. They still use it! Nike, right?

Also Marilyn "the big girl panties" line is a great visual as well! And the "Don't do the crime" line is probably destined for the proverbs list-- it's so applicable to consequences of all kinds!

Thanks, guys! I've got some new entries for my list and it seems like we have a several votes for "What goes around comes around." Otherwise, they seem to appeal across the board.

We are such a fount of wisdom here.
And tonight, I'm feeling like the windshield, not the bug!!!