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Proverbs, Clichés, and One-Liners

December 11, 2009 2 comments

Golf with Zig Ziglar, 2007

Spare the rod, spoil the child. Leaders are readers. The early bird gets the worm… Proverbs, clichés, and one-liners are sticky sayings that capture the real estate of our minds and influence our behavior. At first glance they’re kind of annoying, but there’s a reason they stick around – they work.

A few years back I spent several Saturday mornings learning from a brilliant thinker, Fred Smith (1915-2007). Mr. Smith would say, “Clichés sharpen truth for better penetration”. In regards to sharing wisdom he would say “clarify your thoughts so that others may use them.” Like Mr. Smith, leaders often develop the discipline of communicating with cliché’s not to make it easier for themselves, and not because they want to sound cheesy, but they do it for the sake of those they lead.

Mr. Smith is well known as the mentor of one of the kings of cliché’s, Zig Ziglar. A couple years ago I had an unbelievable opportunity to spend some time with Mr. Ziglar. Whether in casual conversation on the golf course, or at a dinner table, a conversation with Mr. Ziglar was seasoned with clichés . At first I though it didn’t seem real to have it packaged so neatly but I learned that what he was doing was giving me his best in a way I could get it and keep it. Looking back, I remember almost everything he probably wanted me to.

Just like Mr. Ziglar packaged his wisdom for transfer, King Solomon long before practiced the same. The proverbs of Solomon recorded in the Bible’s book of Proverbs are a wealth of wisdom in bite-sized pieces. He took his greatest gift from God, wisdom, and packaged it for all of us to live by.

The Proverbs 1 intro says it all…

1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

2 for attaining wisdom and discipline;
for understanding words of insight;

3 for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life,
doing what is right and just and fair;

4 for giving prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young-

5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance-

I think about the many proverbs that begin, “listen my son”. I wonder how many times Solomon said this to his son Reheboam, and followed with the pertaining proverb only to be countered with, “you already told me dad.” Solomon took the time to transfer his insight to the next generation, and eventually to the canon of scripture. I’m grateful to learn from this wisdom literature and transfer it to my kids.

Related Links:

How To Use Cliches by Seth Godin

What are you doing to transfer wisdom, ideas, knowledge, and faith to those you lead?
What sayings will your kids, friends, etc. remember you and be influenced by?
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Shrimpers, My Dad, & Kindness

December 6, 2009 4 comments

Back Bay, Fort Myers Beach, FL

As a kid, I spent many pre-dawn mornings driving out to the island with my dad. I’d stay awake just long enough to finish my chocolate milk and Hostess cupcakes from our routine Circle K stop. Soon we’d cross the “big bridge” from mainland to Island and arrive at the Fort Myers Beach Island Deli, my folks’ place.

Fort Myers Beach, FL is an active shrimp port on the Gulf of Mexico. Along our morning journey out to the Island we would often pass men along the road heading back to the docks. I remember my dad pulling over and saying “where you heading?” and just like that, we’d have another passenger, and a little boy would begin another life lesson.

If you’ve seen the crew from Deadliest Catch, you’ll have a good picture of these men. They are an interesting brotherhood. Rugged water cowboys – often caught between homeless and boat-less. But what my dad saw was another man, just like him, who didn’t necessarily need his help, but maybe needed a ride. My dad respected them, was interested in what they did and I saw them come to life when he talked to them and asked questions.

Whether shrimper, stranger, or friend I learned the practice of kindness from watching my dad. Watching him place a God-value on people by seeing past exteriors to see the image of their creator. Even in showing kindness he showed me the difference in undermining and uplifting – the difference in giving to receive and giving to give. Caring for people because they are there, not for why they’re there for you. True kindness.

This kind of kindness is a fruit of the spirit that only comes from knowing God’s love and sharing it with others. I hope I can do this in my life as well as I’ve gotten to see my dad do it in his, and that my kids see it too.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…

Galatians 5:22-23

Never let loyalty and kindness leave you. Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.

Proverbs 3:3

Your kindness will reward you, but your cruelty will destroy you.

Proverbs 11:17

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