Sunday, 10 March 2013

Puerto Rican proverb

Puerto Rican proverb:  Nadie sabe lo que hay en el bote pero el que lo está removiendo

English translation:  Nobody knows what’s in the pot but the one who’s stirring it

What do you think this proverb means?

(a)  It's a proverb about work, similar to the English proverb 'too many cooks spoil the broth'.  It means that you shouldn't have too many people working on the same project.  

(b)  It is a proverb about maintaining control.  It means that if you want something done properly, you should do it yourself.  (For example, if you buy prepared meals, you can never be sure what is in them).  

(c)  It's a proverb about tolerance and understanding.  It means you shouldn't make assumptions/judgements about other people because you don't know what they have to deal with in their life. 

The correct answer is (c).  You don't know what's going on in another person's life, so don't judge them.  We have a similar quote from Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird:  'You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view; until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.'  

Thanks to my student, Maritza, for sharing this proverb; my colleague, Pam, for helping with the editing process; and my cousin Isabella for the picture from her limoncello recipe

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