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Heeding from the Book of Elder Words

Wise Words That Live in the Head

With ill-advised politicians playing on the national stage about now, we are starving for some wise words, and action, too. I know I am.

If only we had the likes of Solomon about now. Aside from his 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11), there hasn’t been a man credited with more wisdom. From his prudence in the dispute between the two mothers over the live baby (cut the child in half. Honestly, but it turned out well. Read for yourself: 1 Kings 3:16-28) to the Proverbs that are accredited to him, his words continue to epitomise fairness the world over.

But unless we reach for the Bible regularly or have the recall of Malachi (that’s my father) we don’t always have these words in mind when we need them. Sometimes we just need wise words to pop into our head, like before we leave someone in a lurch or throw a temper tantrum, on a world stage, for example. What can we do? Short of remembering all the wise words contained in the Bible, a hard task even if you are reading the Bible In One Year, via Holy Trinity Brompton’s app (I should know), refer to the Book of Elder Words.

Yeah, that’s the one. It lives in your head and your heart, too, and comprises words from the elderly that come to mind almost always in the time of trouble. More to come on this very thing later in another, more in-depth blog, but for now in the midst of national confusion, I thought I would share with the politicians and anyone who cares to listen a few of my favourites from this wise old book.

In a pinch, in the time of trouble, in need of advice, I have heeded some of these words, if only silently and graciously, sometimes hearing them echo throughout the day and the night, mind you.

Many of them are, of course, from my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers and so on. But regardless of their origin, the thing about elder words is that, in whatever language them come in, they are handed down from generation to elusively and seem to put us on the same playing field when wielded, even though playing is the last thing we ought to be doing right about now.

Ah, ha! That’s one from the book. Alas, more wise words

  1. When you know better, you ought to do better.

  2. You are too old for that… You complete the sentence.

  3. You started this mess, now you need to finish it.

  4. Winning is not everything.

  5. By now you should know that lies always catch up with you!

  6. Don’t you learn anything from your mistakes?

  7. Well, at least you have your dignity.

Umm, really! I don’t know about that last one. What about you? What are some of your favourites from the Book of Elder Words? Do tell!




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