“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool
than to speak out and remove all doubt.”
My uncle (my dad’s brother) held a lot of influence during the formative years of my life. His daughter (my only cousin on that side of the family) were only 11 months apart and grew up more like siblings than cousins due to the fact that we were both only children.
Due to us being that close; a close friend group formed and would always meet up at my aunt and uncle’s house. I remember when in high school, we were all trying to sew our wild oats; my uncle sat me and one of our friends down and plowed some words of wisdom into our rebellious minds.
He wanted to urge us to remember that ‘our name’ is important. Not meaning that our name is significant based on who we were named after but the weight that our name carries. He continued on to tell us that he is not saying that we should care what people think to the extent that we don’t live our own lives, but that we should live our lives knowing that our actions affect those who are attached to our name. The fact that if I, as his nephew, and mine and my cousin’s friend went out and did something terrible that it would not only negatively affect our name but look bad on everyone around us. It sounded so selfish when he first said it but the more that I thought about it, tears welled up in my eyes. The realization that my ignorance and ‘tomfoolery’ had a blowback effect on everyone around me.
I wouldn’t know if my old friend remembers it, because we don’t talk anymore. Heck, I don’t even know if he remembers sitting us down on the couch that afternoon but I remember the emotions that I felt and the tears that fell on that throw pillow in their den. That knowledge has resonated in my psyche; and it has already been passed on to many of my students, friends, acquaintances, and most importantly my son.
Featured image – Good advice image by Frank Kovalchek from Anchorage, Alaska, USA – “This reminds me of my Vulcan side giving me good advice”, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24473423
Advice image by and accredited to Honoré Daumier – National Gallery of Art, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11497763
Crying image by and accredited to RayNata – Mis documentos, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5270246