A Good Home, Childhood Memories, Family, Home, Inspiration

Mama Said….

Our mother raised us lovingly, on food, church and words.

Some of her words came from the Bible, of course. Many were old family sayings, old Jamaican/British proverbs, or came from sources unknown.


Photo by Hamlin Grange

If we judged another person harshly, my siblings and I would hear this one:

“There is so much good in the worst of us

And so much bad in the best of us

That it doesn’t behoove any of us

To speak evil of the rest of us.”

Just recently, I Googled the saying’s origin and found it attributed to two Americans: Edward Wallis Hoch, and Edgar Cayse both born in the 19th century. Hoch’s version ends slightly differently:

“…That it hardly behooves any of us
To talk about the rest of us.”

I don’t know who said it first. But as far as her children are concerned, Mama said it best!


58 thoughts on “Mama Said….”

  1. “behooves” – boy, do I remember that word being spoken. Seems like adults used to use very formal formidable words when trying to correct kids and shove them in the right direction. Better, more effective than yelling
    Nice post

    1. I will second that, Clare, as you have already chosen the words I would have used myself. Cynthia’s mother was a wise woman, and this post is a beautiful memorial to her.

  2. Reproves with behooves are the best. How could you not grow up interested in language and literature with such wonderful sayings in your ears! One of my mother’s was “His strength is as the strength of 10 because his heart is pure.” That is a modified version of the quote; not sure who modified it.

    1. I love that one too! I grew up hearing it, but as an adult, I heard it said most often by Tim Knight. Where did it come from? Sounds like it’s from either the Bible or the Arthurian legend.

  3. Nothing to do with hooves here. In the UK we say ‘ behoves’. It’ s funny that people never behove, always ‘ it behoves’. Here it is often coupled with ‘ ill’ as in ‘ it ill behoves…’
    My mother never said things like that. Her maxims were ‘make sure you have a clean handkerchief’ and ‘ don’ t draw attention to yourself’.

      1. I’m laughing at the last part of your sentence now. Tee hee…. I remember replying to my mother: “But if that happens, who will care about my underwear?” The unspoken answer undoubtedly was: “I will. I’m your mother!”

  4. Like you Cynthia, I too was brought up on the words of the bible. It gave me such a clear view of what was right and wrong and those guidelines live on inside me today, as I am sure they do in you.

  5. I’ve just spent some time thinking about similar lessons from my mother and grandmothers–thanks for sending me down that bit of memory’s lane!

  6. Oh Cynthia-things our parents said do stick with us. I remember coloring the “golden rule” about treating others as you wish to be treated/do unto others what you wish them to do unto you….you remember these things and they sure do mold our character:-) Mom does know best…I wonder what my kids will remember:-)

  7. What a great saying:). My mother, in Germanic style, simply told us to “be kind.” I think your mother’s way might have made me listen a bit more:). Some poetry to it.

  8. I’m with you, Cynthia. Recently I realized one of my favorite sayings I’d learned from my parents did not originate from them. But I think they said it best. Are you curious which wise words your daughters attribute to you?
    Blessings ~ Wendy

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