Old-Fashioned Folk Wisdom In The Spotlight


“The cobbler’s children are the worst shod” while “in the home of the smith the knives are blunt” – these quaintly old fashioned proverbs don’t appear to have a modern equivalent … possibly because they are “past their sell by date”.

By definition, a proverb or saying of this kind must be considered to be a true and accurate indication of behaviour. A possible 21st century version might be an Apple employee still on the waiting list for an iPad; an orthodontist’s children having crooked teeth; or the plumber whose drains are blocked -I am sure you’ll agree, all pretty unlikely scenarios.

To add further weight to the argument that these sayings are no longer appropriate, we also know, from the recent posts (“It’s a family affair” and “no glasses or contacts in sight”), that no new maxim could include a reference to a Laser Eye Surgery clinic where the staff or their relatives are still in glasses or struggling with contacts. I imagine that any prospective patient would raise at least an eye brow if greeted by a staff member wearing glasses.

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So, assuming these old fashioned adages of cobblers and blacksmiths should be confined to historical dramas, let’s turn our attention to the relevance of another saying: this little bit of folk wisdom relates to great prophets not receiving the same glory and fame in their home country as they might abroad (“A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country and in his own house”).

Is this quotation also wide of the mark in today’s society?

Recently I read an interview with the wife of American pop star, singer, pianist and songwriter Neil Sedaka. Speaking about her husband, whose hugely successful career has spanned more than fifty years, Leba Sedaka was quoted as saying that, if her husband showed signs of wanting a spotlight or behaving like a star in their home she would suggest he opened the fridge door.

Clearly the down to earth Mrs S, who has been married to Neil Sedaka since 1962, does not put her husband on any sort of show business pedestal. Instead she makes sure that – despite their mega wealth and success – he keeps his two feet firmly on the ground.

To spotlight a London Vision Clinic parallel situation:  as head patient care co-ordinator, most of Cassie Crowther‘s days are taken up with meeting and talking to (perhaps even more importantly, listening to) prospective patients. She is used to answering not only their spoken questions, but also addressing their unspoken fears and concerns in a knowledgeable, approachable and informed manner.

Like everyone at the London Vision Clinic, Manchester-born Cassie is exceptionally good at her job (I know because I have seen her in action) but would she be able to sustain her professionalism when the prospective patient sitting opposite her for a consultation was her brother, Jonathan?

Old-Fashioned Folk Wisdom In The Spotlight

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