A Stitch in Time Saves Nine
Essay # 1
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.
A Stitch in Time Saves Nine
Essay # 2
This proverb emphasizes the importance of little things, and the danger of neglecting the insignificant beginnings of evil. It means that if we promptly mend a small tear in our clothes when we first notice it, we shall prevent the tear from becoming a large hole, which it will take a lot of trouble, time and labour to repair. Many other illustrations of the same truth could be given. Sometimes the seeds of the pipal tree get lodged in cracks in the masonry of a building, and take root and grow. When they are little plants, it is easy to pluck them up; but if they are allowed to remain, they become trees and split the building into pieces. A small hole in a canal embankment can be stopped up with very little trouble, but if it is neglected, it will widen into a great breach, which will require much labour and expense to make good. As the old saying teaches, a kingdom may be lost by neglecting to replace a nail in a horse’s shoe; 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 the rider the battle was lost; for want of the battle, the kingdom was lost.”
This lesson applies to matters of health. A man catches a cold, and thinking it a small matter, neglects it. It develops into pneumonia, and he is dangerously ill for weeks or even dies. If he had taken the cold in time, he would have saved his life.
It can be applied, too, to morals and character. No one acquires bad habits all at once. They all begin in small and apparently innocent indulgences. Let us take the example of drunkenness or drug-taking. A drunkard begins by taking a glass of wine now and then and thinks nothing of it. But the desire and appetite for wine grow, until it becomes a craving: and before he knows where he is, he has become a slave to drink. As a Japanese proverb says: “First the man takes a drink; then the drink takes a drink; then the drink takes the man.” The safe way is to avoid the first glass.
Inattention to details, and the neglect of small beginnings, has marred many a fine career.