Silver Spoon and Iron Spoons

by Bob on Sunday, 13 May 2007 Comments
When I was born, my dad bought a silver spoon monogrammed with my initials. I don’t know if it was only to commemorate my birth or I actually used it. My mother saved it. My brother when he was born also got a silver spoon with his initials. I have no idea where those spoons are today. I don’t know why my dad did that. Certainly silver spoons were more expensive than the usual household items, so that showed he wanted to celebrate to show off his happiness of having sons. It might have been a family tradition.
It is said that in France several centuries ago it was the custom for the god parents of wealthy children to present them with silver spoons. That is quite possibly the origin of the popular idiom “to be born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth.” It generally refers to someone born into a privileged family with plenty of money and advantages.
Sometimes the expression is used in envy: “Look at them, they never had to work hard, they got everything handed to them on a silver platter, not like me who had to struggle so hard to get ahead.” Sometimes it just refers to the fact that the person was born with special advantages, money, health, or plenty of talents and opportunities. Good for them. They are lucky. They have good starts which often gives them an advantage over others, but in the long run, their ultimate success or failure comes not from the silver spoons in their mouths, but from the callouses on their hands. If they don’t take the spoons out of their mouths and use them to dig their way through the difficulties and obstacles of life, they will stall or fall behind. Or go through life as symbols of spoiled wealth and decadent indolence. In either case, they become victims of the silver that turned out to be more a curse than a blessing.

A spoon is a spoon whether it is made of silver, gold, platinum, tin, iron, wood or plastic. The material determines its value, but the way it is used determines its usefulness. A well crafted wooden spoon works as well as a silver one. It does not tarnish like silver or bend like metal, but can easily be knicked splintered or burnt. So ideally, each spoon should be fashioned according to its purpose, choosing the material and the shape that fit best the use for which it is designed. In this context, then, having a silver spoon is rather a figurative expression rather than a literal statement. A silver spoon is the ideal spoon, valuable, useful and advantageous, made of whatever is best for efficiency and success. Each of us hopes to own just such a silver spoon.

There is a saying: “The grass is greener on the other side of the fence.” We also often seem to think that the spoons which others have are more silvery than our own. We aren’t satisfied with our iron-spoons. So what should we do about it?
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