In every language, there exist beautiful phrases, similes, metaphors, and figures of speech, which have a lot to teach us. Metaphors refer to certain words or phrases which have a meaning different from what it denotes.
Most people, if they can understand them, happen to love metaphors. If they are used in the right context, a metaphor can communicate a hundred lines of emotion, with just a few words.
The reason why our brains tend to like metaphors so much is because of the simplicity of the literal statement, denoting a far more profound meaning and teaching valuable lessons through just a few simple words.
Metaphors are often like one-liner poems- they are buried, profound can inspire, and are often beautiful to the ears and mind. Metaphors can be used to describe absolutely anything, an emotion, a sensation, a concept, an idea or thought, a place, a person, or just Life.
When used correctly, a metaphor can inspire more profound reflection, debate, and discourse. Just like the right metaphors used in the correct context can inspire and teach, other metaphors also can depress or discourage us.
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Students are always hungry for knowledge and often can imbibe this from various sources—books, movies, quotes, lectures, and every once in awhile- a metaphor.
Metaphors are an essential source of creating a deeper understanding of the world around us. However, due to their very nature of meaning something else, other than what it says, metaphors can often be misinterpreted and confuse those hearing it.
While there are many examples of bad metaphors and how they can could a student’s mind, let us first get an understanding of some good metaphors which students can learn from.
“Books Are the Mirrors of the Soul.”
This is a beautiful metaphor that is helpful not just for students, but for anyone who reads it. Understanding the metaphor can help one genuinely comprehend the lesson it is trying to teach.
This metaphor tries to convey that the author’s soul, in its raw and real beauty, can often be ‘seen’ by the medium of their written words. Reading books is a beautiful way of taking a peek into the soul of the author and understanding them more deeply.
It is the same for writing a book as well- you get to pour out the contents of your heart and your soul through your words, your story, and your book.
“Failure Is the Condiment That Gives Success Its Flavour.”
Just like many of our favourite foods require condiments to add flavour- pizza tastes better with oregano and chilli flakes, burgers with mayonnaise, eggs with salt and pepper, failure also acts as a condiment to success, giving it its variety and flavour.
Many a time, students get discouraged, demotivated, or even give up when they face failure, be it in a subject, an exam, a relationship, an artistic creation. However, the student needs to understand that to get to success, to savour the journey, and add some flavour to it.
Failure is just as critical. Failure teaches character, it adds value to the journey, and it helps one become more resilient and learn lessons. It is important to embrace failure as a part of life and part of one’s journey towards success.
“Life Is like a Parachute. It Doesn’t Work Unless It Is Open.”
A valuable life lesson that every student must learn is to keep an open mind. Without an open mind to accompany you, no amount of education, knowledge, or inspiration will affect you and help you grow.
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The metaphor above tries to convey the message by using a parachute as an example. When you jump out of a plane, you pray to God that your parachute will open. If it does not, you will crash and die. However, an open chute allows you to land safely to the ground while enjoying the view and the journey.
The same goes for your entire Life- your Life is a journey. Unfortunately, you cannot experience and enjoy Life unless you keep an open mind. An open mind to new ideas, concepts, cultures, people, and experiences is what makes your life full of flavour rather than a long, bland, and tiresome journey.
“Conscience is a man’s Compass.”
A good metaphor is simple, precise, and thought-provoking. This is one of those metaphors which say so much with so little words.
A compass, as we already know, is an instrument that shows your direction. Using a compass, you can choose the right path to reach a specific destination.
When it comes to living a good, honest life, conscience can act as a significant compass. Although our conscience is hugely individual, very personal, and unique to every person, this intangible concept allows an individual to steer the direction they wish to take their Life.
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Having a clear conscience is one of the most prized possessions of an individual. By following one’s moral compass, principles, and values in Life, one can choose to live a good, honest life, or one filled with questionable decisions and outcomes.
While these are some of the great metaphors which students derive meaning from, there are quite a few dangerous ones that can be confusing and end up digressing you from your original thoughts.
“Chaos is a Friend of Mine.”
Although this cannot be called a ‘bad metaphor,’ it can be quite dangerous nonetheless. This metaphor romanticizes the concept of chaos, which can be destructive if a young student does not have the emotional ability to steer through difficult emotions.
By making chaos a ‘friend,’ one might be driven to believe that disorder should be embraced, rather than gotten rid of in a healthy manner.
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Metaphors can be a lovely method of teaching and learning for students, teachers, and others. You will come across them in books and poems, and trying to understand them can become an excellent hobby. Of course, make sure you take inspiration from the right metaphors and use them in appropriate contexts!