Teach A Man To Fish?

Pam Wilson of Operation Mercy wrote an insightful article about the proverb,
“Catch a man a fish you feed him a meal,
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”


Besides the fact that the proverb is sexist, it holds many false assumptions of how the poor should be helped. I have always had a problem with the proverb because it assumes that one should ignore the immediate need. But Ms. Wilson has a better overall approach.

Steve K

Comments (3)

  1. somasoul

    The proverb is sexist?

  2. Deano

    I felt the article was a great example of the dangers of over-analyzing. The need to use common sense when teaching doesn’t mean that teaching is a bad thing. Moreover, the proverb is meant to show that if you do aid that doesn’t sustain itself, it just means that you need to do that aid again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, etc. That said, of course immediate aid is important, but it has it’s own problems.

  3. Skylark

    Deano, perhaps instead of seeing the article as over-analysis of a proverb, look at it as an analysis of unhelpful assumptions some people have made when attempting to help the poor.

    I’m trying to withhold commenting on the assumption that there is nothing wrong with fishing in the first place… Nope, I failed. ;)

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