Title: The Whole Person
- Verbal lore, Proverb
- Informant: Shawn Morris
- Location: Via electronic communication to Lebanon, NH
- Date: November 13, 2018
Shawn Morris is an optometrist in the Upper Valley. He is a lifelong Catholic, attended Catholic school, and went to Villanova University for his undergraduate degree. He then attended optometry school. He lives in the Upper Valley now with his wife, Meg, their young daughter, and their dog Rey. He is originally from New Hampshire and is currently a part of the Aquinas House community at Dartmouth (where Meg works).
Shawn heard this proverb from his high school football coach at a Catholic high school. Their team had lost 24 games in a row, and spirits were low. That coach said the proverb had been passed down from a Notre Dame football coach to his players in times of difficulty.
This proverb is a reminder to never judge someone by their best or worst interaction with you, or at the most extreme ends of what you can see. There is always something more beneath the surface, and a person is worth more than just one day or one experience. People are a collection of days throughout their lives, and in order to see them for how they truly are, you have to consider that. Catholics value the dignity of the whole person (this is a tenet of Catholic social teachings) and believe that the least among us will be first, and that people can always change. This proverb is used in Shawn and Meg’s life as a reminder to always value each other and the people they meet in life for more than just one moment, and to view them as a whole.
Orally transmitted proverb:
“You’re never as good as people say you are when you win, and you’re never as bad as people say you are when you lose.”
This is a two part proverb, with parallel structure. Each half of the proverb again has two parts, that parallel with the previous half. The image is reflective, and the message is that you have to see beyond someone’s worst or best to tell who they truly are. This is one of two Catholic proverbs that doesn’t explicitly use a metaphor to the faith (i.e. sainthood, Christ’s sacrifice) but instead heavily relies on the morals and values of Church teachings to give advice and wisdom.
Alexandra Norris, 20
3305 Hinman, Hanover, NH 03755
- Catholic Proverbs