Chinese Proverb: Kind Words

Informant is a 53 year-old Chinese female. She was born and raised in Beijing, China. She now lives in Southern California.

Informant’s folklore: A kind word will warm a person for three winters; evil speech will hurt people and make people cold in June. This means that when you say something nice to a person, you make them feel happy and warm. It will even keep them warm through three winters, at the coldest times. If you say something bad about someone, in this way, even when it’s June and it’s really hot weather, that person will feel coldness in their hearts. This saying means to never say bad things about or to someone, because it will hurt them.

Collector: Do you like this saying?

Informant: I love this saying, because a person you must say nice words to people. You shouldn’t use words to hurt people.

Collector: What does this mean to you?

Informant: Everyone has a different way to help people. Some people have money or materials to give to other people, but other people don’t have anything to give. But when you don’t have anything to give, a kind word is enough.

Collector: Where did you hear this saying from?

Informant: I learned it from my mother.

I think that this proverb is a saying to live by. It’s a saying about the power of words–how words can help or hurt people. It shows people to be kind to each other, because words and ideas can shape people into the persons they want to become.