One Week, One Proverb

A length of rope
A length of rope

Case 22:

Take a goat and tie it to the rope; take the rope and tie it to the goat; they both mean the same.

Insight/Background Story:

When the man on my left got up to talk at our last kindred meeting, I knew we were in for a long boring speech. For me, this was yet another moment to show how vast he claimed he was in historical matters and politics. As usual, he started by reminding us of his great ancestral line, bombarding our brains with his mumbo jumbo which drew angry sighs and murmurs from all corners of the hall. He had barely talked about the topic for the day when a woman thundered from behind, “Shut up and sit down.” The look on the man’s face was one of shock and embarrassment. But he recovered quickly. He threatened and called her names. This, of course, prompted her to do the same. Some minutes later, our chairman was able to quell the noise, including all signs of dissent.


Everyone appreciates a good speech. In order to be able to address an audience effectively one must be objective, concise, time-conscious and simple. Stay on the topic and if there is nothing to contribute, don’t bother to speak at all. Like my late granny once said: “We’re all blessed with one mouth and two ears, so we can talk less and listen more.”

41 thoughts on “One Week, One Proverb

  1. This is good, some people are shamelessly vain, and your late granny (may God bless her soul) is right; “We’re all blessed with one mouth and two ears, so we can talk less and listen more.”

  2. Hahaha! 🙂 I’m laughing at the man and the woman. I would laugh if I were there at the meeting. Thanks for sharing the post. I really like this saying: “We’re all blessed with one mouth and two ears, so we can talk less and listen more.”

    1. Glad you like Mama-ukwu’s words of wisdom 🙂 She’s still a big source of inspiration to me. Looking back, I also laugh at the whole situation because the man–I believe–didn’t expect a woman to hush him at such a gathering.

  3. A speech for the sake of having a speech, resides with little value upon the listener, unless it carries a sense to inherently connect with the listener through their values within their subscribed contexts, rather than those of the speaker (as relationships to/on any topic). Or else like above, mutiny, dissent, rises within the audience. Thanks for the insight, Uzoma…

    1. You have a way with words, Sean 🙂 You said it better and am glad you share the same view with me. It’s all about passing across the proper message when need be. Thanks for coming around 🙂

  4. Shut up and sit down is so very appropriate too much of the time. But, what about shame and its tendency to wilt the spirit? The man became embarrassed and then angry, etc. I guess I am still trying to live up to Malidome Some’s Wisdom of Africa that describes a more round about approach to avoid shaming the person in need of a lesson… Can’t say I’ve found that delicate balance, but it is a cautionary consideration and aspiration.

    1. Malidome Some’s words about ancestral words of wisdom continues to inspire, teach, and heal (mentally) those who come across them. I’m so surprised and happy you’ve read him.

      Cautioning others in public depends on the individual–some like me will call the offender aside to offer an advice to avoid wilting (love your word!) his/her spirit. Thanks for your take on this one, Cheyenne.

      1. Must admit that I did not think about wilting the spirit of whoever was using power tools after 10 pm last night when I yelled into the night to stop, lol!

        I read Malidome Some many years ago and still consider the wisdom shared to be a road map to inspired living. I also was fortunate to do ceremony with Sobonfu Some and her many stories have guided my awareness.

        1. Ha! Cheyenne you humble me with your African readings, thoughts, and experience 😀 I guess you met Sobonfu there in the US, right?

          1. Yes, Sobonfu was sent to the USA by her village to teach us African rituals. Lucky us! 🙂 it certainly wasn’t her idea of a good time, and she resisted before giving in to the elders.

            1. Wow! She’s really in love with Africa. But then, I’m happy she came over to share her stories with you guys. I get to read the history of some nations/tribes/people in the west on the Web, but there is nothing greater than having someone from such area do the narration. For me, it’s there is power in speech and it tends to stick longer.

              1. I could go on and on about the mere 24 hours Sobonfu visited with our group of seekers of knowledge. She is an incredibly engaging and provocative story teller, her spoken words do stick, but they are not mine to share…

  5. The proverb is wonderful – that curious inverted wisdom of ancient societies: Africa, India. We have something to this effect in many Indian languages.

    What I enjoyed most in your narration of the meeting was that it was a woman who decided to tell the rambling speaker to shut up and sit down! That sums it up for me this Monday morning. 🙂

    Have a great week Uzoma – listening. Great advice we are often liable to forget. :))

    1. Aw, thank you so much MJ. From your writings/poems I’ve come to learn a considerable lot about India and her people. In truth, our cultures are very similar regardless of tongue.

      Glad you enjoyed my little narrative and the proverb too. Wisdom is a lamp, my people would say. Everyday I try to keep it close for the dark hours. Have a blissful week 😀

  6. There is nothing worse than being trapped (tethered) to an egotistical bore. Haha, at least the woman who told him to shut-up and sit-down brought a little life to the room. 🙂

    1. Your nailed it on the head, Liza. The woman’s reaction gave us reason to laugh. The eccentric men among us were a bit annoyed that a woman would speak to a man in such a manner.

  7. Oooooo, I love this post, the proverb, the background, your conclusion with your wise granny’s pithy and apt saying, and the ensuing discussion above. Especially appreciate the discussion of avoiding shaming folks, “wilting the spirit,” whenever possible. I do believe that many folks do not understand and perhaps are untrained for speaking thoughtfully and effectively in public, and I admire your mindful approach of commenting privately when possible. Have you ever noticed that many people handle their nervousness by talking for too long or not otherwise considering how best to connect with a particular audience? Thanks for the inspiration, as always!

    1. Oh yes, Sirena. Some people are inexperienced or just love to be egoistic when it has to do with public speaking. In order to counsel them effectively, we must do so with humility and love because we are not perfect. I’m glad we both are on the same page.

      “Have you ever noticed that many people handle their nervousness by talking for too long or not otherwise considering how best to connect with a particular audience?” Of course–this is a good observation! And when such people do, they tend to rattle so fast they barely pause to catch their breath. Public speaking needs planning. It’s like dancing–one bad move spoils the show.

      Have a wonderful week 🙂

  8. I attend every meeting – including seminars, business, etc – with a note pad. Depending on how useful that meeting was, I either leave with useful takeaways or a sketch. My meetings are never wasted.

    1. Hello Eric. I admire your attitude to meetings–there is always a message at the end of the day. It mustn’t turn out right at every time. I see you as a keen observer.

  9. Very good suggestions about speech and content to make it meaningful. Your grandmother was so right! I need to remember those words about 2 ears, 1 mouth. Take care, Uzoma!

  10. Very appropriate! Our politicians could use a class taught by your wise Grandmother! For that matter, so could my boss! 🙂

    1. LOL. I sure hope so. But it bothers me that some people do look at the older generation as delusional when they try to speak in a profound manner–at least, I’ve come across a few here.

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