Paulelmo's Blog

A man of good education–from the archives

Bear with me a bit; I think you’ll be happy you did.

There is a phrase in Spanish that drives me: un hombre de buen educación.

Even for someone who doesn’t speak Spanish, if a person forgets to worry about what all they don’t know, it’s not the most difficult translation.

A lot of us know that the Spanish word for man is “hombre”–pronounced with an “o” sound and a little bit of an “l,” not “hambre,”like a woman’s hair might be colored. It’s an important distinction, as “hambre” in Spanish means hungry. The “h” is silent in both words.

The “un” translates to “a” man; if it were “one” man it would be “uno.”

“De” simply means “of.” It can mean many different things, but, when in doubt, guess that it’s “of.”

Anything with “buen” is “good.”  Whether it’s buen, bueno, buena, buenos, buenas, whatever; if you see those four letters, or “bien” together, something is good.

“Educación” is easy; it’s a cognate. A cognate is a word that looks the same in both languages and is the same in both languages.

So, that’s the translation: a man of good education.

We folks from the States hear that phrase and tend to assume it has something to do with how far someone has gone in school; however, it doesn’t have anything to do with scholastics.

A man of good education is a man who has been taught how to act when he leaves the house. Here is a phrase that is seldom spoken to a man of good education: Didn’t your mama ever teach you anything? A man of good education’s mama taught him plenty.

A man of good education has social grace and restraint, good manners, calm reasoning, great empathy, soft sympathy, true caring, when necessary, daring; he keeps his elbows off the table and holds the door for everyone. In like manner, he accepts any door opened for him with thanks.

Following the Golden Rule, he always puts others first.

And the list goes on and on. It’s a never-ending job, but the rewards are sweet.

And it’s a goal for me; it drives me, this hope to shed good light on the name my parents gave me, to prove the worth with which my mother raised me.

So, if you ever happen to be sitting at the bar and there’s someone new, who says, “What’s the deal with that dude?” You can just say, “He’s a man of good education.” When he says, “Really? How far did he go in school?” you can respond with, “How would I know?”

Happy Saturday, people.

2 Replies to “A man of good education–from the archives”

  1. Loved this one, Paul. I always loved well-behaved, respectful, well-mannered students, regardless of their academic abilities.

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