The very first time I ever heard the saying “A stitch in time saves nine”, was in second grade, from an old painted figurine that I had lying around. The figurine depicted a woman surrounded by yarn and string, holding baskets bursting with the same, and that aphorism inscripted across the front. At that time, I had no idea what the saying meant. After a while, I got rid of the figurine, and never thought of the saying again. That is, I never thought of it until a few days ago, when my grandparents came to town and were able to explain exactly what it meant to me.
The saying is about catching a problem early on, before it gets too big to handle. For example, if you were to find a hole in your shirt and repair it with only one stitch, it would save time and resources later on because the hole won’t get bigger. If you hadn’t noticed the hole, it might have gotten larger and larger until you needed nine stitches to repair the damage. Once I had someone explain it to me in simple and understandable terms, it made a lot more sense to my brain. And once it made sense to me, it was funny how quickly I was able to apply it to my own life.
As I write this, we are going through finals, which means that by the time this article is read, school will have been over for a few days. I can’t tell you how glad I am that finals are finally here (or I guess when you read this: done). They’re something I’ve been stressing over for the past few weeks and have been anxious to get over with. The difficult thing about finals is that they kind of sneak up on us. You think you have weeks until the test, and then you look up and realize that the first test is only days away and you still have study guides to finish and last minute cramming to do. The lack of preparation and time catches us off guard, even though we knew it was coming.
The truth is, finals can’t really sneak up on you. There are reminders from teachers every now and then, and there’s this constant pressure in the back of your mind that won’t let you forget that they’re coming. The problem is, instead of doing my best to prepare early on, I have a tendency to want to block out the uncomfortable idea that I’m not ready for a test. I put it off and ignore it until I can’t, and then it’s almost too late. If I would only put in that little stitch in the beginning by studying a few minutes every night, then maybe I wouldn’t pay for it with nine stitches the night before the test as I’m frantically cramming for these tests.
It would be nice if we could prepare for everything and predict everything that was going to happen so that we could be ready for it. Unfortunately, that is quite impossible at this point in human history, so all we can do is try to look ahead and keep in mind the consequences that could occur if we continue with this course of action. And, it never hurts to remain vigilant. Predicting a problems isn’t so much the end goal as simply recognizing when something needs to change, and being able to follow through with it. After all, small changes early on can abolish the need for drastic measures later, and sometimes, if you catch a problem quick enough, all you need is one little stitch. See you next week!
“Reprinted from Hagel Publications, Inc. dba as Courier Newspapers”