Lessons from our Elders: Listen or Your Tongue will Make you Deaf
I admit it. I used to be an arrogant little know-it-all, always had something to say about every damned thing...years ago. If someone had a problem, I had a fix. I didn't just have a fix though, my fix was better than anyone else's. Even when in the presence of people older and wiser than me...it didn't matter. I still had the better idea, the better advice, the better fix.
Then, one day that all changed.
I was with a group of friends and there were several elders among us. It was a typical day, someone was having an issue and I knew what to do. I knew what to do before the issue was even fully explained! Isn't that amazing? Surely everyone must have been impressed! I knew I was!
Uhh, no, they weren't. They were annoyed. And for the first time, I actually SAW that they were annoyed with my know it all arrogance. Because let's face it, that's what it was.
Then, one elder turned and looked at me and said, "you really need to shut the hell up and just listen for a change." Only being an Elder, and being Cherokee, he didn't say it in those words, instead he looked me dead in the eye and said, "Listen, or your tongue will make you deaf."
But we all know what he meant, and what he meant was, "you really need to shut the hell up and just listen for a change you little twerp of a know it all."
I shrank to about 2 inches tall that day and that moment in time is forever burned in my otherwise lousy memory. Fortunately.
Image: Coloured aquatint, ca. 1862, depicting a man covering his mouth with a handkerchief, walking through a smoggy London street – Source: Wellcome Library