Family Proverb

Bozzo Family Proverb: “Many hands make light work”

My father Gus has always used this proverb for as long as remember. When I asked him about where he had heard it he answered that this saying had been with him since his childhood growing up in nearby Gilroy, CA. He heard it from his father whenever there was work to be done. My father is one of seven children, which is perfectly understandable within the context of the expression. Whenever there was work to be done, if everyone pitched in, it would go by faster. My dad said his father ran the family in this manner because there was always so many of them, whether it was doing work on the yard or doing dishes, there was no shortage of work nor a shortage of helping hands. My dad believes this phrase emphasizes the fact that within a family everyone must work together in order for things to run smoothly. No one is more important the other and the work must be done so everyone might as well pitch in.

When I asked my dad further about some of the times he would hear his dad use the phrase I noticed that many of the jobs were constructed based on gender roles. For example whenever there was hard manual labor to be done his father called on my dad and his two brothers to see to it. Meanwhile there was other work more fit for the girls such as preparing the meal, cleaning, or taking care of other household tasks. My dad described his father and very old fashioned and he remains that way today. Which certainly makes sense as to why he has these very narrow view points about what jobs are suitable for a girl and which for a boy.

I feel this proverb focuses on the theme of cooperation which is certainly an important aspect to any family’s daily life. My dad continues to use this phrase around the house today and likewise I feel I will when I become the head of a household. The family is one of the most important things in life and how in order for it to operate smoothly everyone has to pitch in and do their fair share as reflected in this proverb.

Annotation: The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, 3th ed., edited by E. D. Hirsch, Jr., et al. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.