Ever wondered what pieces of Jamaican wisdom inspired the famous reggae artists? We gathered 9 Jamaican quotes about love, children, and life that stand as important life lessons for 2016 as much as they did centuries ago. They address crucial aspects of our society and, ultimately, human nature and feelings by using the environment as inspiration.
Jamaican Quotes about Love
Jamaicans are laid-back and accepting of the human nature, therefore love is a very important aspect of this culture. And we can see this portrayed in countless Jamaican art pieces, from music to visual arts. Here are 3 of the most eloquent traditional Jamaican love quotes:
An old fire stick ignites easily.”
This quote mainly refers to an old love that has been revived. But it also involves keeping a relationship alive and growing it with time. But it applies to both young and aged individuals alike since love is an ageless feeling. And it goes to show that, even though laid-back, they know how to passionately enjoy life.
Seeing me and living with me are two different things.”
The expression is meant for couples and advises them to be mindful since appearances can be deceitful. Jamaicans most use it when referring to young couples. However, many also use this expression when advocating for couples to live together before getting married. As we all know, this goes against some religious beliefs.
People who want something cannot get it and people who get it don’t want it.”
This quote mostly refers to heartbreak or rejection and aims to put things in perspective a bit. It’s similar to the American trash & treasure saying, showing a harsh truth we need to overcome from time to time. But it also refers to taking people (or things) for granted and not appreciating them in time, implying it’s not always too late to do so.
Jamaican Quotes about Children
Jamaicans feel a deep connection to their roots, native land, and family. And this connection only developed after a certain cultural education only a native family can offer. Here are some old Jamaican quotes about raising and educating children that still stand today:
Bend the tree while it’s young, since when it’s old it will break.”
This quote implies that it’s easier to train children at younger ages than when they are older. And although old, this concept has been proven by psychologists countless times. The expression most likely originates from the native experience in building shelters out of trees and leaves.
A little alligator will turn into a big alligator.”
This expression suggests that children will, in time, adopt their parents’ bad behaviors. Another fact psychologists haven proven over time. Like many other Jamaican quotes, this one gathers its inspiration from Jamaica’s natural fauna and flora. But it also warns that survival instincts will triumph in the mind of a wild animal, or even in the mind of a person.
Jamaican Quotes about Life
Jamaicans are known for their wisdom and wit, a fact proven again and again by popular culture. They simply know how to draw life lessons from the environment and put them into words. Here are the wisest Jamaican quotes on how to live a simpler and more relaxed life:
I came here to drink milk, not to count cows.”
This expression advocates keeping to yourself and minding your own business. And many psychologists agree that often times we stress about other people’s problems instead of focusing on our primary goal. Of course,we shouldn’t blindly follow this expression. After all, we are social creatures by nature.
But it should urge us to take a break to determine if a matter truly is our business and if we should involve ourselves or not. Because sometimes, this not only means investing time and/or money into finding a solution you shouldn’t look for in the first place. In some cases, getting ourselves involved can also lead to consequences such as fights with our loved ones or losing friendships.
Feel sorry for a hungry dog, then he turns around and bite you.”
This quote urges us to be cautious of those who ask for our help. It comes as an addendum to the previous saying, exemplifying some of the consequences of “counting cows” without needing to. And it’s not far from reality, either. History and our own life experience taught us that many times trouble comes from unexpected places. Therefore, it’s best to be wary of “hungry dogs”.
Trouble doesn’t give signs like the rain.”
Inspired by Caribbean’s ever-changing climate, this quote stands as a warning of the unpredictable nature of life. It even dares to state that life is more unpredictable than rain during Jamaica’s wet season. As distressing as this might sound, we can also remember that rain also goes away as quickly as it comes in these lands and waters. Therefore, the saying also aims to calm down the nerves when stressed.
If the bucket goes to the well every day, its bottom is going to drop out one day.”
When we first hear it, might think this saying refers to the normal wear and tear of a household item, and this might be true. But this Jamaican quote is meant to underline that repeatedly taking the same risks can ultimately lead to a disaster.
Variations of this saying exist in some other languages from around the world, and they all mean the same thing. They imply that even though one found the easy way out (or in) one time, it doesn’t mean this will go on forever.
A Short Recap
These Jamaican quotes traveled through the spoken word with generations of Jamaican families testing them through time. But they still excellently portray today’s society, with all its highlights and drawbacks. And ultimately, they give important life lessons to young and old alike.