We are blessed with some stunning proverbs in South Africa. And I’ll stun you with some of them as we walk this Know The Beloved Country path.
“Ngwana a ka feta gare ga molete wa tau.”
No, this does not translate to “Darling, would you mind hoiking the feta out of the fridge, please?”
It’s a northern Sotho proverb which means… “A child can go through the hole of a lion.”
Yes. I was also left wondering whether this was a misprint and they meant “whole” rather than “hole”. Kids do tend to eat a lot these days.
But, if you’ll allow me to get to the nub of all this, this quaint proverb suggests that adults should be open to what children say.
Now I’m a great fan of this thinking. Have been ever since my Dad got into the habit, at the dinner table, of barking at my sister and I: “Only open your mouth to put food in it.” And we were already in our 20s! Only joking.
But, seriously, I think we adults would do very, very well to really listen to what children say. Perhaps then we might shift a lot of the absolute rubbish we carry around in our heads all day, every day, and begin to appreciate once more the joy to be had around us.
You know, those small and seemingly insignificant things that we either take for granted or completely ignore because there’s a a job to be done, money to be made, neighbours to be upstaged and grudges to be settled.
When last did you really share in a child’s elation at an earthworm presented in muddy little fingers? Did you hold the earthworm, admire it and Google all the facts about Lumbricus terrestris? Or did you tell him or her to put it back immediately and go and wash those filthy hands? Just asking.
I think that we have a lot to learn from children. Perhaps everything. How did we forget it all?