A Stitch in Time Saves Nine
If there is a little hole or tear in our clothes, we should get it stitched in time. If we fail to do so, nine or more stitches will be necessary. What the proverb means is that a small piece of work done now may save a lot of work later. We should act with prudence. The proverb, ‘Who repairs his gutters repairs his whole house’, conveys the same idea.
Let us first examine the case of diseases. If one has some disease, one should consult a good doctor and undergo proper treatment. If one postpones the treatment, the disease will become chronic and one may even die of it. “Delays”, says Shakespeare, “have dangerous ends”.
A good farmer does everything in time. He irrigates the land, applies necessary fertilizers and pesticides. He knows any delay will have a negative impact on the yield.
There are many students who put off studying their subjects. On the eve of examinations they burn the midnight oil. Very often/ they do not get sufficient time to finish the course. Dr. N.V. Peale says, “Discipline yourself not to put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Accumulation of undone jobs makes your work harder. Keep your work up to schedule.”
A good ruler takes decisions at the appropriate time and carries them out. He does not delay what he should do. If any violence or lawlessness occurs in any part of his country, he will soon deploy armed forces to quell it. He knows that postponement will only complicate matters. The outbreak of the French Revolution (1889) could have been averted, had the French King taken timely action to redress the grievances of the masses.
If any damage occurs to one’s vehicle or instrument, it should be repaired in time. The failure to do so may give room for inconveniences and unnecessary expenditure. An old saying teaches ‘neglecting to replace a nail in a horse’s shoe may lose a kingdom’. “For want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; for want of a horse, the rider was lost; for want of a rider, the battle was lost; for want of the battle the kingdom was lost”.
No one gets into bad habits at once. All habits begin with small and apparently innocent indulgences. How do some men become sots? At first they drink a single glass of whisky or brandy. Then they try to avoid drinking, but they cannot resist the craving. Soon they become dipsomaniacs.
In short, whatever we have to do, we should do, it in time. We should act with foresight and sagacity.