Proverb – Scottish

“The clan is stronger than the chief”

As a child, my mom grew up with 27 first cousins. My Grandpa was one of 7 children and they all lived in the same neighborhood. My mom’s family belonged to the clan McClay that met monthly at the Scottish rite in Portland. The clan was a very important part of my mom’s childhood. Her sisters danced the “highland fling” and her brother played the bagpipes. All of her cousins were involved in the clan McClay and the people in these gatherings became an extended family. Every holiday when my mom was little, they gathered at the Scottish rite for parties. The saying refers back historically to when Scotland was ruled by Kings. It means that there is always an ability to overthrow a government if you were not happy with it and that collectively the members were stronger than any one individual. The Clan in Gaelic means children of the family. My mother remembers that her parents used this saying to guilt trip her into going to events that she was not particularly excited about attending.  The clan McKay was extremely important to her parents and grandparents. It did not matter what was going on with the family or if she thought that it was stupid and that no one wanted to go, it was like church. You had to go. It was very social. It was something that you had to do. The clan always came before any individual obligation.

I can recall soccer coaches utilizing a different version of this saying when describing the importance of the team performance as a whole versus the endeavors of one individual player. What they meant was that the game cannot be won by just one person. It takes eleven players working hard together to be successful. This saying is extremely dynamic and is applied to almost any facet of activities involving multiple people. This saying become increasingly important as we are currently in the process of electing a new president of this nation. While we recognize that this is an important position to be filled by a capable candidate, we do not forget that it is the collective people of our nation that make it strong.

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