First count, then calculate
ahratch hambreh, hehdoh hahsheveh
First make a realistic accounting of your assets in terms of money, personal skills, interpersonal relationships, etc. Then make a plan to reach your goal.
The term calculate can either mean add, subtract, multiply or divide numbers to solve an arithmetical problem or to devise a strategy in a competition, business venture or another endeavor to reach a desireable goal.
Alive, he had no underwear; dead he had a temple over his grave.
Voghck jahmahnaguh vahrdik chounehr, mehrahv neh dahjahr sheenetzeen kehrezmaheen vuhrah
Along with my mother’s milk came Armenian Proverbs
Along with my mother’s milk came Armenian Proverbs
I was told when turtles climb trees, I won’t need any training or education. But have you ever seen a turtle climb a tree?
guhreeahn dzahruh gehleh? Does the turtle climb a tree?
gahrehlee pahn eh? Is it possible?
ahngahrehlee eh! It is not possible!
To ask a question with an impossible outcome begs an obvious answer. Of course, turtle’s don’t climb trees. Therefore, children need education and training. Their education comes first from their parents and close family members such as grandparents, uncles and aunties. The elders are the first and most important source of education for children when it comes to values that will stay with the child throughout life. They naturally love the child and hope and pray the child will grow up to be an honest and responsible member of the family. It is said:
ahnchour deghuh chee lohghatzvee – You can’t bathe in a place where there is no water.
A child cannot be educated where there is no wisdom. The elders must educate the child in the generational wisdom handed down from antiquity which has been tested in time to be true and practical. If the elders are themselves lacking in wisdom, then all is lost. It is said:
Kahrehn dzagheek guh poueesnee? Does a flower grow out of a rock? It is very unlikely.
ahnkhehlk kuhlougheen yehrehssehn eench guh kahsseh khehjuh nehrpahnuh – Due to the ignorance of the head, the soles of the feet suffer untold miseries.
Children need guidance through love, example and experience under watchful eyes. A child cannot grow up without such careful and persistent instruction and protection. If such education is lacking, then the children lack the discrimination to avoid unnecessary suffering. It is said:
chouruh bahduhn ee vehr gehleh? Does water go up a wall? It is not possible. You cannot expect the children to educate themselves without proper and loving guidance from adult loved ones.
Wisdom is taught by love. It is said:
seerdeh seerd jahnpah gah – From one heart to another, there is a path. There is a connection between two loving hearts. The relationship of love opens all the channels of communication. This is necessary because the learning process takes time and effort and the relationship of love and respect for elders sustains a child’s ability and perseverance to learn. It is said:
gahmatz gahmatz pahmbhaguh guhlah mahnadz – slowly, slowly the cotton fibers are spun into thread.
The most fruitful years for learning wisdom and getting practical training is between 5 and 12 years old. It is said:
yehrgahtuh dahk- dahk guh dzehdzehn – when the iron is hot, it is pounded into shape. The five to seven years before puberty are the years when the mind of the child can accept discipline and readily assimilate knowledge. If the child is protected and nurtured by the parents, he can learn with amazing speed and accuracy during these formative years when he is not yet exposed to bad habits such as intoxication, gambling, sex. If the parents protect the child from different kinds of exploitation, bad association, and degrading influences, the child will have a clear mind to learn and also develop discipline and moral values to withstand negative influences. An example of a childâ€™s discriminative powers is given in the following story.
A hustler walked along the banks of stream on the outskirts of a village looking for someone to swindle. He saw a young Armenian boy playing with a gold coin. The hustler’s eyes lit up with greed. He pulled out a furry toy from his shoulder sack. He said:
“I’ll give you this toy if you give me your imitation gold coin.”
The Armenian boy said: “I don’t need your toy. But, if you imitate the braying of an ass, I’ll give you my coin.”
The hustler looked around to make sure no one else was witnessing what he was about to do. He took a deep breathe and brayed like a dumb ass in heat. The Armenian boy was very amused. He said:
“You believe I am so stupid to think this is an imitation gold coin? Although you are dumb as an ass, you know it is a real gold coin.”
The young boy was astute enough to recognize that the stranger was a cheat. He was not fooled by the hustler. In fact, he made a fool of the hustler.
When a young person who is not properly trained tries to separate from loved ones, protectors and elders, he or she becomes easy prey for unclean persons. Youth and white paper take any impression. It is said:
Hahmuhrvadz votchkhahruh kailuh chee ouhdehr – The lamb that has been counted will not be eaten by the wolf. (In other words, the lamb that is watched and always accounted for will not be eaten by the wolf)
Ahndehr votchkahruh kaiyluh goudeh – the lamb without the shepherd will be eaten by the wolf.
It is necessary to educate children to recognize the difference between a good and bad person. But it takes one to know one. The child needs to be trained to be honest and respectful. If he knows how to be honest and simple, he will be able to recognize honest people and distinguish them from dishonest or deceitful persons.
Ahmehn pahrehv dvogh pahrehgahm cheh – everyone who says hello to you is not a friend.
Ahmehn paiyd sehrep chee leenee, ahmehn sahruh massis – Every piece of wood is not a spoon, nor every mountain Mount Ararat
A dishonest person can only cheat someone who has weaknesses such as greed, lust, jealousy, etc. He will exploit that weakness to his advantage. It is said:
Aiyees dahkeen tzouyeen guh teemahnah? Can the snow last in this awful heat?
Without proper training from loving parents and good teachers, can a child withstand the temptations and exhortations of unscrupulous persons? Such persons have long term strategies to subvert the child’s power of discrimination and lead the young minds and bodies to be exploited. For example, how do child pornography films or pictures become available for depraved individuals? Obviously, innocent children have been exploited by unscrupulous persons.
Beware of persons who covet and cheat
Who’ll rob your honor and gold by deceit
Leading you down to frustration and defeat
Their hearts are bitter but they smile so sweet
It is said:
Chee koushahtzvahdz ahckeen metch paiydee guhdohr guh muhdneh
A splinter of wood can enter into the incautious eye
We suffer in life due to our own inattentiveness, weaknesses and mistakes. It is said:
Ahmehn votchkhahruh eehr vohdkehn guh gahghvehn
Every lamb is hung by its own feet.
This proverb indicates that every individual is responsible for his own actions. One suffers the negative results of engaging in bad habits. It is said:
Choureen goujuh choureen jahmpah guh gohdree
The clay pitcher of water is broken en route to its destination. This proverb implies that one gets what he deserves for engaging in bad habits. (It also implies one may suffer in the course of doing his duty.)
Learning good habits is the subject of many Armenian proverbs. It is said:
Tzehrkehrut luhvah gehrahgourehn ahratch ahroghjuhtihamp hahmahr, gehrahgourehn vehrch mahkrutiahamp hahmar – wash your hands before eating for your health and after eating for cleanliness
One needs to know basic hygiene. Today, washing one’s hands frequently is recommended to avoid catching viral and bacterial diseases. It is said:
Tzehrkuh tzehrk guh luhvah, yehrgou tzehrkuh yehresshuh – one hand washes the other and both hands the face. This proverb indicates the value of mutual dependence and mutual endeavor. Cooperation is the basis of happiness. Patience is another valuable quality.
Hahmpehreh, maiyrig kehzee pahn pehreh – Be patient, mother will bring you everything you need. Hahmpehroutiounuh giahnk eh – patience is necessary for a fruitful life.
Asking questions and listening carefully to the answers is another desirable quality.
Hahrtznohghuh guhlah kidtzoghuh – The one who asks questions, is the one who will understand. Serious inquiries from and elder will lead to receiving answers and knowledge and save much time and trouble. Humility, respect, offering service and asking important questions creates the right atmosphere for a fruitful exchange of questions and answers.
Hahrtznehlov baghdahd gehrtzatzvee – By asking one can reach Baghdad. (Baghdad was considered a very far off place from traditional Armenia. In other words, by asking questions and listening carefully to the answers one can reach the faraway (desired) goal.
Hahrtznehluh ahmoht chuhlah, chuhhahskuhnahluh ahmoht eh – Asking is not shameful, not understanding is.
Receiving good advice or a second opinion from a trusted friend has always been esteemed. It is said:
Mehg khehlk lahv eh, yehrgoossen ahvehli – one head is good, two is better (one brain is good, two is better).
After living under the yoke of the Ottoman Empire, the Armenians appreciated the value of not talking too much. It is said:
Yeteh dahssuh pahn keedehss, meguh uhseh, eennuh bahheh – If you know ten things, reveal one and keep nine to yourself.
Yehrp hahmodzvadz ches vor khohsskut pahnee muh degh gahntznee, lahv eh chee khohssehs – If you are not sure your opinion will accomplish a specific goal, better not say anything.
Mehg khohseer dahssuh luhsseer – For every one time you speak, listen ten times (literally this proverb says – speak once, listen ten times).
The Armenians have always put their emphasis on working hard and becoming expert in their trade or vocation. It is said:
Tuhchoun tehvohv eh tuhrchoum, mahrtou hahmpahvuh kohrdzohv – the bird flies with its wings and man achieves reputation (personal honor) by his work.
Lahv ahskhahdogheen lahv ahbroust – the good worker earns a good living.
Lahv huhntzvohruh tahsdoum ehl guh huntzee, sahroum ehl – the good farmer plows the fields expertly and even a mountain.
Khuhpuh ahskhahdelohv eh paiheeloum – the plough shines by working it (in the fields).
toun kehzee ohkneh vor ahstduhvadz kehzee ohkneh – help yourself so that God will also help you
There are many proverbs in Armenian extolling the benefits of hard and honest labor. At the same time, there are just as many that look on laziness as a vice.
Ahmahruh vor bahrgehs hohvehruh, tzuhmehruh guh sahdgehn gohveruh – Passing your summer sleeping comfortably soothed by the soft breeze, your cows will drop dead of starvation during the harsh winter ( literally If you sleep by the breezes of summer, your cows will drop dead during the winter).
Dzahreen dahguh bahrgehlohv pehrahnut dahndz chee uhnguhnee - a pear will not fall into your mouth if you sleep under a tree
yehteh khoshgohv peelahv gehpvee, dzohvou chahp yough eendzmeh – if you can cook rice with words alone, then I’ll give you an ocean of oil for taste.
yehrguhrahchahpoutioun guhneh – he is measuring the earth meaning he is walking around uselessly without work.
Patience and self control is another virtue emphasized by Armenian proverbs.
Seerdut laiyn puhrneh, hahmpehreh, mee paghgahnahr
Keep your heart calm, be patient, don’t get angry.
Keeshehr cheghehl vor chee louyeesahtzehl
There has never been a night that didn’t become day.
But if one is impatient, the following is said.
mohrut pohruh eenuh ahmees eenchbes muhnahtzeer – How did you stay nine months in your mother’s womb.
Armenians value an honest and decent person and they consider these qualities necessary for success.
eehrahv mahz vor uhllah chee guhduhree, souhd kehrahn ahl uhllah guh gohduhree – A truthful and decent hair cannot be cut, but a false or fake, imitation beam will easily be broken in pieces. This proverb implies that a person who is decent and honest will be successful and cheaters will fail.