That phrase is typically spoken in a less than kind tone of voice, typically following a person doing something unwise – or yes, foolish. Now here we are, on what the world calls “April Fool’s Day” during which the idea is to make jokes and pull pranks on people.
(Nature pulled a prank on many of us in New England and other parts of the country, with a snowstorm today…but that’s another story).
Slight digression from the topic: I’m participating in my second Ultimate Blog Challenge; the first time was in January and it motivated me to get my Office Help 4 Hire blog up and running. So I joined the April version to help me get THIS blog going, since it’s a very special one for me.
Back on topic: the Bible actually has a lot to say about fools and foolishness. The Psalms and Proverbs, especially, compare wisdom and foolishness, and in fact frequently make the admonishment to NOT be fools or act foolishly.
While most of us have probably “pranked” someone – or been the victims of pranks – there is usually no evil intent. Good-natured fun and laughter is actually a GOOD thing (“…a cheerful heart is good medicine…” paraphrased version of Proverbs 17:22). We just have to not cross the boundary into something that is truly foolish, harmful to someone’s feelings or health, or dangerous in any way.
We can do much more to encourage and build up others by acting wisely instead of foolishly. I think two of my favorite quotes about wisdom vs. foolishness are the followings Proverbs, paraphrased:
*Proverbs 17:28 — Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.
*Proverbs 29:11 — A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.
I think these might be the sources of the expression (attributed to Mark Twain and others), It’s better to remain quiet and let people think you’re a fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt!
It is better to weep with wise men than to laugh with fools. ~Spanish Proverb
Real friends are those who, when you feel you’ve made a fool of yourself, don’t feel you’ve done a permanent job. ~Author Unknown
- The Foolishness of God (bethusminded.wordpress.com)
- To Avoid Folly, Study Wisdom! (psychologytoday.com)
- Let’s Vent! (or should we?) (freshlyground.wordpress.com)
- Watch Your Mouth! (freshlyground.wordpress.com)