I had a conversation about proverbs they had learned from their families with three female employees at a local taco shop during one of the less busy times of the day. Mercedes Rodriguez, 42, Maria Lopez, 23, and Rosalba Valdez, 18 each consider themselves Mexican. Rosalba was the only one born in the United States, though she is a second generation immigrant. In Mercedes’ class in school, the students used to talk all the time. Then, one day, the instructor shared this proverb with them and the students were more quiet.
Escucha, o tu lengua te hará sordo.
Transliteration: Listen or your tongue will make you deaf
Translation: It is better to listen than to talk
While the proverb offers sound advice, what is most interesting to me about this story is the effect reciting the proverb had on young students. It caused the class to change its behavior almost immediately.