Right now you’re thinking, “What in the world does Yogi the Bear have to do with anything?”
Actually, I’m referring to Yogi Berra, the baseball player, not to be mistaken with the cartoon character Yogi the Bear; although some have argued that they are one in the same.
Mr. Berra; the great philosopher; is known more for his famed “Yogi-isms” than his baseball prowess.
Yogi-isms such as:
• Always go to other people’s funerals; otherwise they won’t go to yours.
• If you can’t imitate him, don’t copy him.
• A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.
• I can’t concentrate when I’m thinking.
• Steve McQueen looks good in this movie. He must have made it before he died.
And my personal favorite:
• Surprise me! — When his wife, Carmen, asked where he would like to be buried.
With sayings like that, it’s easy to see why Yogi became more famous for his quotes or rather, his misquotes, than his skills on the playing field.
In pseudo-medical terms, Yogi-isms are also known as foot in mouth syndrome. Perhaps you suffer from this medical condition as well. I know that I do.
In life, we often misspeak with the immediate after thought of, “I wish I didn’t say that”.
Our words have power. They have the power to build others up or tear them down.
I’ve been in situations where I mutter something which I immediately regret, but it’s too late to take back.
Recently, my wife prepared dinner for me and inquired how I liked the meal.
My reply: “Either it was really good or I was just really hungry, I’m not sure which.”
Sometimes, a simple “Yes” is sufficient. Other times, it’s just better to leave things unsaid.
When kids misspeak or say something off-color, we “adults” usually laugh it off or dismiss it as child-like innocence.
This happened the other day when my daughter referred to my dad as “Chubby Grandpa” in order to distinguish him from my grandfather; “Really Old Grandpa.”
Safe to say, my dad didn’t think it was too funny.
The foot in mouth syndrome seems to be universal. We see it everywhere, from celebrities “tweeting” things that they later regret, to our country’s leaders saying something during the election campaign only to backpedal and issue an apology.
It’s funny or entertaining when celebrities or politicians misspeak, but hardly do others find it humorous when I do the same. In fact, it can be downright painful; especially when you have to learn how cook your own meals.
Teaching kids to think before they speak isn’t just an old adage. It’s pertinent in today’s fast-paced, Twitter, Facebook, sound bite society we live in.
Around our house and I’m sure in yours, we tell our kids “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it.”
My wife and I are trying to teach our children that the words that exit our mouths can impact the lives of people in profound ways. Letting our children know that even at a young age, their words carry weight is important.
I’m reminded of an old proverb that states: “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent and discerning if he holds his tongue.”
There are times I wish I could remember that before I open my mouth. I have yet to be offered one penny for some of the dumb things I’ve said in comparison to Yogi Berra who made a lucrative business selling books and giving presentations based off his ill-timed quips.
So what’s my point? As I tell my kids, “If you don’t have nothing nice to say, don’t say it.”
And if you happen to make a mistake, and need to apologize, just remember the other great philosopher, Yogi the Bear, when he says to his compatriot in his famous Yogi the Bear style of speech, “It’s o.k. Boo-Boo.”
Just remember to not do it again.
By the way, in case you were wondering, after much groveling and pleading (on my part), I am once again receiving hot meals for dinner.
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