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Vinegar versus honey

There is an expression that most of us know that goes something like this. “You can get more bees with honey than you can with vinegar.” This is not intended to be instructions for the beekeepers, but advice in how we treat others. There are several other expressions that carry similar messages for us. Our main message is clear. It’s the Golden Rule. Treat others as you would like to be treated.

The message about the vinegar and honey, to me, sends a bit of a mixed message. I get the vinegar part. A “sour puss” is never pleasant to others, and a vinegar attitude will generally not get people swayed to think or do something that person suggests. However, the one who is always “dripping with honey” can be somewhat nauseating, and too much sweetness can actually backfire and cause suspicion.

Today we think kindness is always something we strive to have. I agree that we need to be kind. However, there are times when a stern encouragement is necessary, but it seems to be unkind. Parents often have to deal with their children in a way that seems to the child to be mean and heartless. If parents love their children (and most parents definitely do), they know that discipline is necessary in order for the children to learn the lessons of life.


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