What Were They Talking About?

Maceo Keeling - SCORE Member, Business Owner and Consultant. Photo: Urban News

Maceo Keeling – SCORE Member, Business Owner and Consultant. Photo: Urban News

By Maceo Keeling –

When I was a child, I understood as a child, and my ears were attuned to childish things.

I often giggled at older people who spoke in parables and said things that were simply a mystery to me. The “old man sayings” and what “Big Momma” said made little or no sense to me at that time.

But interestingly enough, the mystery of those sayings became a timeless message, like an onion with many layers. As the years passed, these layers of wisdom became more and more evident. This article will revisit some of those old sayings of conventional wisdom. I apologize beforehand for any attempts to demystify these sayings in this short article.

“Birds of a feather flock together.”

The people you roll with are your tribe. They are a reflection of who you are and what you represent in your social life. “You are judged by the company you keep,” and in most cases you do what they do and go where they go. If you want to know what people think about you, ask them what they think about your friends. Choose your friends wisely, and don’t let them choose you! You’ll always fit in that way.

“If you lie down with dogs you’ll get up with fleas.”

Of course not all dogs have fleas, but dogs are dogs. Right?

I am not suggesting that anyone is less than someone else. However, if you go with, roll with, or spend time with people who are not carrying a moral compass, you are also susceptible to going in the wrong direction.

If you have a car and you don’t get high, but your friends smoke weed, use drugs, or rob banks, you will get caught up in their illicit behavior by just being part of the “in-crowd.” Say you are driving while black and the police stop you. They find weed on your friends, or, worse, a gun. The police will assume that you smoke, or that it’s possibly your gun too. Even if you can prove that you don’t smoke weed or didn’t know about the gun, now you have some loyalty “friend-mess” going on as a result.

Carry your own compass!

“Stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.”

Just say, “No! That’s not how I roll.” If you can’t or won’t let folks know how you roll, you’ll get rolled over. I’m talking about drugs, sex, stealing, skipping school, dropping out of school, drinking, smoking, stealing, and whatever else takes you off your path of peace, joy, and freedom. If you have nine friends going in the wrong direction and you hang with them, then you are the tenth.

“Water seeks its own level.”

If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room. There is an exception, however—and that is if you are the teacher.

How can you grow if you are moving in cramped mental quarters? Look for folk who can challenge your thought processes, and soon you will challenge their rationale thinking skills with your gifts. Iron sharpens iron. When water levels rise, everyone is lifted along with it!

Let’s say you are seeking a partner, or a spouse to build a home-life together (future), and you have a hammer (education), and nails (a job), and wood (savings), and a saw (good credit), but the other person has no tools to assist in the process. If they have no knowledge of construction and no desire to learn, you’ll get stuck to build a home on your own.

If you don’t know where you’re going—you may end up anywhere!

“The early bird catches the worm.”

Birds eat worms, and the ground and grass is soft and moist early in the morning. The worms are easier to get at that time.

Circumstances are more favorable when you get an early start on your day. When people are still sleeping and you are up early planning your day or doing business, you have a clearer mindset and more opportunities.

Learning is easier early in the morning (and early in life), because your mind is open and flexible. Just like the early bird, by getting some knowledge early you will be able to be fulfilled early in your life. Shoppers know what I’m talking about: On Black Friday what do you do for what you want? You get there early! You try to be the first in line!

Most everything in the Bible that was of great significance happened “early.” The word asks us to seek the Lord out, when? Go tell Pharaoh to let my people go, when? Jesus rose, when? Early! My point is that if YOU don’t go get it early, you get what’s left over.

And lastly … “What Goes Around, Comes Around.”

Have you been used, abused, and/or mistreated? On a job, in a friendship, relationship, by a person who didn’t have your best interests at heart?

Beware that some people can be well versed in deception, and make it a lifelong practice to use and mistreat people. They use manipulation, charm, and other self-fulfilling tactics. For them it’s a lifestyle and an ego trip. They will “vet” you to see what you have to offer, and use you and/or your friendship to serve their own purposes and needs.

It’s a horrible feeling to be taken advantage of. Bad people do bad things to good and undeserving people all the time. Learn how to read people so you don’t get caught up with someone who don’t respect and value you as a person.

If your intentions were honorable and you survived the ordeal, just remember, karma may be your biggest payback!

Need I say more?

I encourage you all to try to remember some more “old sayings,” and talk about the meanings with your children, grandchildren, and younger folk. One day they too will come to know these sayings and they will understand.

Answer the call!


“You don’t have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to become great!”


Dr. King had a dream, now we must have vision. The Conscious Call radio program airs every Monday at 11:30 a.m. on WRES-FM 100.7. In a collaboration with the radio program, the Urban News will help keep readers informed about events, programs, news, and the progress of The Conscious Call. For more information, contact the Conscious Call at (828) 989-6999 and visit www.theconsciouscall.com.

The opinions and statements made in this column are solely the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of The Urban News.

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