Sunday, January 5, 2014

How much is too much?

Some people love to tell everyone everything about themselves and others are very reserved and silent. It is

good to communicate, it helps in relationships and understanding of other people. On the other hand, telling people too much about yourself can be harmful.

Barn Owl
Take an old Russian fairy tale for an example. A husband and wife lived in a cottage in a forest. One day, the husband dug up a treasure chest. His wife found out about it and he knew she was a notorious gossip, so he went into the forest one day and hung fish on trees. The next morning, he took his wife for a walk and she saw the fish hanging in the trees, they collected them and had them for dinner that night. In the mean time, the wife had told her neighbors all about the treasure her husband had found and it got around to the king. The king thought he ought to have the treasure, so he called the husband and wife before him.

"Did you find a treasure chest?" the king asked.

"No," said the husband.

"Yes we did too!" the wife exclaimed, "It was the day before we found the fish in the forest!"

While the husband should not have lied about the chest, the wife should not have told all the neighbors about it if she wanted to keep it. 

However, being too secretive about oneself can be harmful too.

In an old Italian folk tale, a man loved a woman very much, though she did not love him. Eventually she married someone else and had one son before her husband died. Now the first man had a hawk that he trained from a fledgling and revered very much. The son of the woman also loved the hawk and one day he fell ill, telling his mother that he would die if he did not have the hawk. His mother was distraught and she told the man with the hawk that she was coming for dinner, but did not explain why. He was a poor man and had no food, so he killed his hawk and gave it to the woman for dinner. After dinner, when she asked for the hawk, they both realized the mistakes they had made. The son died, but perhaps he would not have had the woman only told the man what she wanted first.

As illustrated by these tales, both being too private and being too free with information can have disastrous results. Perhaps we should settle with a middle ground; we should have discretion in what we say and always speak the truth, because, in some cases one's life hinges on what one says. Perhaps, we should always think before we speak or speak only when we know it is right.

In this new cyber world we find ourselves in, this lesson is as relevant as it ever was. Be careful what you tell people, because you never know how far it will go. Since no one can see you, your character is measured by what you say and how you express yourself through words. Don't be ambiguous, but don't blurt your life's story out either. 

"There was an old owl who sat in a tree, the more he heard, the less he spoke, the less he spoke, the more he heard, now wasn't that a wise old bird?"  


No comments:

Post a Comment