When I was little my favorite dicho was “en boca cerada, no entra mosca” the direct translation is “in a closed mouth, a fly cannot enter”. My own interpretation is more like “you can’t put your foot in a closed mouth”.

As a child, the meaning of this dicho went completely over my head. I just liked it because it made me think of my Tío Pedro, who would often fall asleep sitting up, snoring, with his mouth wide open. My cousins and I would giggle as we took turns poking him. This is how we kids entertained ourselves before iPads.

As an adult, this dicho holds more weight, it begs the question of when to speak up and when to shut up, something most of us struggle with. On social media, and in real life, sharing everything that comes to mind without a filter is problematic and can get the best of us in trouble. But the problem is that when we don’t say anything at all, we may give the impression that we don’t care. After all, saying nothing is still saying something.

A dicho that I personally dislike came to mind, as well, “calladita te ves más bonita”, meaning you look prettier when you are quiet. Not only is this dicho clearly offensive to women but it’s a reminder that our voices do deserve to be heard and we shouldn’t shrink down to make others comfortable. It begs the question of why we choose to stay quiet in certain situations; is it just for appearances?

I remember seeing a poster in a classroom that said, “THINK before you speak”. THINK was used as an acronym for is it True? is it Helpful? is it Important? is it Necessary? is it Kind? It seemed like a good overall policy to me, but I felt like they left out one important thing, tone. One might argue that the tone of what is being said holds more weight than what is being said. But when you add it all up, THINKTing (I added a T) before we speak does kind of sound like a lot of work.

Maybe we can just take a page out of Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbs comics, when Calvin said “Sometimes when I’m talking, my words can’t keep up with my thoughts. I wonder why we can think faster than we speak?” to which Hobbes replies “Probably so we can think twice.”