Don’t take any wooden nickels.

…Means don’t waste your time with something that has no value, not monetary value per se. For example, if you can’t learn something from someone everyday then you shouldn’t date them. If you can’t grow from something or be challenged by it, then why do it? Take no wooden nickels.

Andrew’s commentary of this personally meaningful proverb above combines both his own personal philosophy with the original meaning conveyed to him by the first person he ever heard it from. As a young boy, Andrew said that he would often spend a lot of time with a close guy friend of his whose grandfather (a “Swedish old guy” as he described him) would tell them this proverb repeatedly. In essence, Andrew said that he grew up hearing his friend’s grandfather’s favorite saying and blessing. When I asked him in what context his friend’s grandfather would tell them this, Andrew responded that he would use it as they left or went out instead of the familiar “good bye” or “be careful” sentiments that are customarily said. He would share this proverb with them upon their departure as a reminder and blessing in hopes that they would indeed not take any wooden nickels.

This proverb definitely seems to issue a personal challenge to the person to whom it is being told. The proverb seems to challenge you to not settle for anything but the real thing so that you do not take wooden substitutes for nickels of real monetary value that can actually be used. Andrew’s initial application of this proverb to relationships fits especially well. The proverb lends itself well to relationship advice by challenging you to not settle for anyone less than you deserve. Andrew himself gave an example of this. I also think that this proverb cautions you against settling for something that may appear to be satisfactory but is still not quite what you need or want exactly. Literally, a wooden nickel may be a nice oddity or keepsake, but at the end of the day it has little other practical value because you cannot use it as currency. This idea could apply more generally to various situations as a reminder that there is no substitute for what is real and is earned like a genuine nickel.