10 Sayings About Life from Around the World

Want new ways to teach kids about love, life, and happiness? Take a page from cultures around the world.

By Sara Schwartz

When molding young minds to think, do, and be good, traditional sayings and proverbs can help you get your point across.

Russia: "Without effort, you can't pull a fish out of the pond."

Lesson: You have to work for the things you want. Rewards don't come for free.

Egypt: "If you marry a monkey for its wealth, the money goes and the monkey remains."

Lesson: Money is fleeting, but personality is forever. Choose your mates wisely, kids!

Ethiopia: "He who knows much speaks with silence."

Lesson: Being a mouthy know-it-all will only expose the things you don't know. Choose your words thoughtfully.

Kenya: "Treat the world well. It was not given to you by your parents. It was willed to you by your children."

Lesson: You're really just borrowing the planet, so don't be selfish with its resources. In other words, don't litter, use what you take, and tread lightly!

Burundi: "Where there is love, there is no darkness."

Lesson: When you're feeling blue, shift your focus — think of about all the love in your life, be grateful for it, and your cloud of sadness will pass. Also, there is less room for dark thoughts when you concentrate on love.

China: "To forget one’s ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root."

Lesson: The story of you began before you were born! Your strength, your face, and your character are a product of everyone in your family who came before you. In other words, don't forget to thank your parents and grandparents for your superb dancing skills and your way with words!

Finland: "Closeness without conflict only exists in the cemetery."

Lesson: If you get to know someone well enough, fights are inevitable... and healthy. The secret is, never let conflict simmer. And the silver lining: Once you work out the problem together, you'll be closer than ever.

Costa Rica: "Pura vida!"

Lesson: Though the literal translation of this Spanish phrase is "pure life," pura vida is more of an attitude, according to locals. People of all ages say pura vida in a variety of situations, meaning "take it easy!," "enjoy life," "this is living," and more. The editors at Bestcostaricantours.com say, at its essence, pura vida really means this: "No matter what your current situation is, life for someone else can always be less fortunate than your own. So you need to consider that maybe...just maybe, your situation isn't all that bad and that no matter how little or how much you have in life, we are all here together and life is short...so start living it 'pura vida style.'"

France: "All of the Earth’s treasures can’t bring back a lost moment.”

Lesson: There's no rewind button for real life. Put down your phones, iPads, and other "social" technology, and start living in the moment with the people around you.

India (Hindu): "Great minds discuss ideas, medium minds discuss events, and little minds discuss people."

Lesson: Gossiping about others shows a lack of imagination. Remember to stretch your mind regularly and explore the big topics!


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