02 January, 2015

The Wolf Like Grin And The Stiff Upper Lip

Wolf cub grin

I was reading an article where the author was bemoaning that the British Stiff Upper Lip is a thing of the past. Nowadays, he reckons, we are blubbing and crying all over the place,

Stiff upper lip cartoon
"One who has a stiff upper lip displays fortitude in the face of adversity, or exercises great self-restraint in the expression of emotion.

The phrase is most commonly heard as part of the idiom 'keep a stiff upper lip', and has traditionally been used to describe an attribute of British people, who are sometimes perceived by other cultures as being unemotional.

A sign of weakness is trembling of the upper lip, hence the saying keep a stiff upper lip. When a person's upper lip begins to tremble, it is one of the first signs that the person is scared or shaken by experiencing deep emotion." Wikipedia

I think us British have changed  but, there again, so has the world.

I can remember as a child being told that 'boys don't cry' and to be brave, even when scared. I guess much of this was carried over from the world wars when things were tough, with money and food rationed or in short supply. A complete contrast to today's excesses and rampant commercialisation.

I was reminded of all this also because of The Cub Book I mentioned in yesterday's post. This was a handbook from 1941 for young Boy Scouts from about 6 years of age. In this the author, Lord Baden-Powell, writes:

THE CUB GRIN
There's another thing, which if you have the sharp eyes of a Cub, you will have noticed, and that is that in each of the pictures of a Cub he is grinning ... Even if you don't feel like smiling - and sometimes you may feel like crying - remember this that

CUBS NEVER CRY
In fact Cubs always smile, and if they are in difficulty, in pain, in trouble, or in danger they

ALWAYS GRIN AND BEAR IT
That is what our soldiers and sailors do in war, so I am sure a Cub can do it.

Once a very young boy, named Francis Palmer, belonging to the Wolf Cubs of the 18th Bristol Group, was knocked down by a motor car, his left leg broken in two places, and the side of his face badly cut about.

The boy was naturally in great pain but, to the astonishment of doctors and nurses never cried or complained. One of the doctors asked him why he was so brave, and his answer was:

"I am a Wolf Cub, and so must nor cry."

And I guess that was the attitude that was within my upbringing. It was very much 'pull yourself together' if things went wrong. Today I've changed, as we all do through life experiences, but at times I feel that a little of the stiff upper lip wouldn't go amiss in the world today. We sometimes seem to forget that we are responsible, for where and what we are today.

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7 comments:

  1. "We sometimes seem to forget that we are responsible, for where and what we are today." - Mike Perry

    You're so right!

    In the states: It's a bit tough dealing with the "give me-give me" age group... the children of our "baby boomer" group. The more lax a generation (over here), the less is appreciated by the next.There's a feeling that consequences don't apply, or "it's someone else's problem."

    I know the stiff upper lift routine. It has certainly gotten me through some tough times in my life. Like, "not crying over spilt milk," "taking the good with the bad,"and other sayings my parents shared. My personal favourite: "If a frog had wings he wouldn't bump his butt every time he jumped!"

    Mike, I think you're getting your money's worth from this book. So are we! Great stuff!(smile)

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    Replies
    1. "It's someone else's problem" or trying to blame someone/thing else - I recognise that here in the UK too. I must admit I've relaxed my 'stiff upper lip', I now allow myself to feel emotions like ... when my grandson was born, when my son got married. I did shed a tear. But I know I could return to being 'strong' if anything serious happened.

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  2. Sorry to say, but the loss of the 'stiff upper lip' has created more mice than (wo)men..... There's something to be said for standing up tall and facing what is and then do what needs doing.

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    Replies
    1. Can't argue with that. It's important to 'stand tall' at times but this can also create a very cold person if taken to extremes.

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  3. If we don't express our emotions, then they get blocked and that can create health problems. Love the info from this book, Mike!

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    Replies
    1. I'm sure you are right about expressing emotions, the older I get the more I express them!

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  4. Hubby still tends to keep a stiff upper lip. Not me though.

    ReplyDelete