“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

Angie told me that her mother would always say this to her whenever she wanted her to go to bed.  The hopes of being “healthy, wealthy, and wise” would make going to bed appealing to Angie.  She told me that, since she basically grew up with this proverb, she is used to it and sometimes says it to herself.  When I heard it, I had not heard it before; I thought it was a clever proverb.  Like other proverbs, this one teaches a lesson and moral to its audience and gives a piece of advice.

I think that adding a rhyme to the proverb makes it more adaptable and suitable to say to younger children.  Children are always learning new rhymes and riddles, whether through other kids, at school, or from their parents.  I feel that children are more able to learn something if it has a rhyme to it.  And so, I believe this proverb is very effective.  It encourages children to sleep early so that they can succeed in the future.  The children, in turn, hear this proverb and they remember it.  For example, Angie first heard this when she was a little girl and now she is twenty and still remembers the proverb.

Also seen in:  Kett, Joseph F.  The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002.