Children learn in many ways, both in formal and informal settings. They memorise texts, experiment with hands-on activities, research, visit sites and take exams. These make for a comprehensive and holistic learning approach. An important part of such activities, especially in the academic domain, is learning through proverbs, which are well-known sayings stating a general truth, insight, or advice. They can be fun to understand and beneficial in class and at home. They help children imbibe values, aptitudes, and personal qualities without making the learning formal and monotonous. Proverbs are also called axioms, old saws, sayings or adages. Some of the proverbs outlined below could be used by teachers and parents to interact with children and help their intellectual growth:
01 A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step –Through this proverb, children learn that to achieve any goal or destination, one needs to start with the first step. However daunting the task may be, taking the first step initiates the process to ultimate success.
02 Always put your best foot forward –It inculcates the children the will and ability to do their best in any activity or endeavor they undertake. It advises that while undertaking any assignment, one must give it the best shot and put in all efforts required.
03 An apple a day keeps the doctor away –Enumerating on developing healthy eating habits and outlining the benefits of consuming fruits, the proverb is an interesting way to impart nutritional knowledge in chilkdren. When started early in life, good eating habits go a long way in promoting well-being. Most international schools in Pune, of which MIT Gurukul is a premier institution, prescribe healthy tiffin habits in children and keep fruit days once a week to promote good nutrition.
04 An idle brain is the devil’s workshop –It is important for students to build a good purpose in life and develop a robust character. For this the proverb proves useful as it means that a person who does not indulge in meaningful activities will think mischief and cause harm. Thus it is important to keep busy with purposeful work.
05 Clothes do not make the man –This proverb is a great way to teach children that they should respect everyone irrespective of their social status and that the true character of a person cannot be judged by their outward appearance. This helps the children become wise in judging people and respectful to others irrespective of their monetary capability.
06 Every cloud has a silver lining –The importance of this proverb lies in its empowering role in helping children grasp that even behind seeming failures or setbacks, there is always hope to recover, improve and reattempt something. Also, difficult situations are transitory and temporary, and will pass to let the good times in. This facilitates the development of a positive mindset and the resilience to overcome challenges.
07 God helps those who help themselves –One of the greatest lessons in life is in understanding the value of hard work and not depending upon a stroke of luck to achieve something. Through this proverb children grow to be responsible persons who take accountability for their decisions and work and not blame destiny or outward factors for their successes or failures.
08 A stitch in time saves nine –By outlining the meaning of this proverb children can be taught that any problem tackled and resolved as soon as it is identified does not become too large and troublesome. The lesson from this proverb tells the children that they should communicate about a small challenge or problem, discuss its possible solutions and tackle it there and then so it does not escalate to large proportions.
09 A friend in need is a friend indeed –An apt way to teach social relations and the importance of honesty and loyalty, the proverb outlines that even if one has a large circle of acquaintances, the person who helps them in the time of difficulty or need is their true friend. This grows the wisdom in children to identify those who they can trust and depend on.
10 All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy –This is the best way to inculcate in children that a balance between academic pursuits and extracurricular activities is a must to develop a healthy and all-rounded personality and that only spending time studying will take away the spark in a person and cause burnout quickly. This is especially important for the long-term success of students in a globally connected world.
Conclusively, we can say that proverbs contain old age wisdom. They contain cultural teachings and a strong ethos in themselves, and they impart profound insights and teaching to children in a light hearted and fun way. At MIT Gurukul, a top international school in Pune, we encourage teachers to include proverbs to reinforce good values amongst the students. We urge and request parents to utilise them in their conversations and daily interactions with their children at home.