I was listening to the radio the other day and one of the very young DJ’s was having real issues understanding the meaning of the saying: Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Of course, the first impulse thought was “Are you kidding me? Everybody knows what this means!” Extremely confident I went upstairs, to my 19 year old son and said with a sarcastic smirk:”you know what “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth means, right?” I was half way out the door, as I expected a quick “sure mom, what the hell?” when I froze hearing his answer: “I have never heard anything more ridiculous in my life! Why would anybody check a horse’s mouth?”
Let me explain: I have high expectations from my son. He loves history and politics, and his favourite channels have been Discovery and History ever since he was a kid. So yes, I do expect him to know the answer to such a simple question. First I blamed the school: “What are they teaching you there?” Why do I pay a ton of money to these universities if our kids don’t know the simplest things! Then, I blamed myself and his grandparents for not teaching him the real values in life. But then I stopped and gave it a second thought.
The explanation that was offered on air, was a paraphrase of the saying, that sounded something like this: Don’t check a BMW that is given to you as a gift. At first I was appalled. Since when we measure happiness and gratitude by referencing a BMW? What happened to the simple things in life? But then, again, I stopped and thought a bit more.