Saturday, December 11, 2010

"It's Better To Be Safe Than Sorry"*

Whether you call them adages, idioms, proverbs or wise folk sayings, I grew up hearing them. Both of my Grandmas and Mom seemed to have a saying for everything. Those sayings were repeated every time they were applicable.
I knew "It's better safe than sorry" meant I should take extra precaution before doing something - especially if it involved something dangerous - like driving.
A week ago last evening there was a terrible car crash south of Red Oak. An 18-year-old girl passed two other cars on a hill in a no passing zone. At the top of the hill she hit another car head-on. In that car was a young mother and her four and five year old sons. Both boys were killed; three weeks before Christmas Eve.
Both drivers were seriously injured. The mother was unable to attend her sons' funeral. I don't know how badly injured the girl who caused the crash was - but I do know that even if she recovers fully, she has fundamentally ruined her life. She will have to live forever with her lack of judgment. I find myself asking: "What could possibly have been so urgent that she had to pass on a hill?" Was she late for work? Hadn't she heard, "Better late than never?"
My children and grandchildren didn't grow up with all the old sayings I did. But I hope they grew up with some common sense imparted by parents, teachers and their own inner voices.
Aeschylus (525 BC - 456 BC) said, "In the lack of judgment, great harm arises." Can good judgment be taught? I think, to an extent, it can. At least it can be emphasized over and over to young people until they get the idea.
Three of my grand kids have had what could have been very serious automobile accidents in recent months. Luckily they, nor anyone else, was hurt. Was there a lack of judgment on their part? I don't know. I hope they, "Learned a lesson" from their "Experience is the best teacher" moments.
I do not know any of the people involved in the Red Oak accident. (Think of the horror the people in those two passed cars must have felt.) Nor is the picture one of that accident. (I imported it from Flickr; a scene from a Missouri car crash.) This is just Grandma's way of saying, "It's better to be safe than sorry!"

*Attributed to Samuel Lover, Irish painter, author and songwriter (1797-1868).

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