What does this quote mean...When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry?Does this come from a Shakespeare play?

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lmetcalf's profile pic

lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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When I read the quote I immediately thought about the second half of it.  I agree with above posts that suggest that the role of the father is to provide and be happy and proud that he can, and the innocent prespective of the child is to pleased when given whatever it is that he wants or needs. 

It is a sad time though when the father needs something from the son.  The old roles, and the comfort of those roles, is forever shaken and it is a sad day when the child realizes that the roles are reversed.  The innocence of being the son or daughter (even if the "child" is an adult himself) is broken, and the reality of the fragility and/or mortality of the parent can no longer be denied for both parties.  It is a sad time no matter how much love exists in the relationship.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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While I like Criminal Minds, I'm not convinced they have correctly attribued this quote.  I did a quote search, and nothing from Shakespeare came remotely close.

As far as the meaning, it reminds me of Weisel's NIGHT.  The inheritance from Elie's father was a fork and a spoon...nothing more, since all had been stripped from the Jewish people.  When Chlomo Wiesel, Elie's father, does not die as he expects, Elie returns the inheritance to him.  In this case, when the son gives to the father, it means two things--one, they both have more time together which is cause for happy tears, and two, they are both going to suffer more misery in the concentration camps and the marching between.

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lynn30k | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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Really, if you are relying on a TV show as a source of accurate information.....well, I just wouldn't. They are in the business of creating entertainment, not in fact-checking on whether they have a quote source correct. It always amuses me that in "The Wizard of Oz", Scarecrow comes out with a statement about triangles that is supposed to show his "superior brains." The statement he makes is not correct.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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First of all, I am quite sure this does not come from a Shakespeare play.  None of the places that allege that it is from Shakespeare give a source for it.  In addition, I used a searchable database of Shakespeare's works and there is no match for "a father gives" or "when a father."  So I do not believe that this is from Shakespeare.  A couple places say this is a Jewish proverb.  That seems more likely.

In my opinion, what this means is that a father giving to a son is fairly commonplace.  It is not the source of great emotion.  But when a son gives something to a father it is much more of a special occasion and both will be much more emotional than if it were the other way around.

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adamnidam | eNotes Newbie

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Much as i like the above descriptions , i have a different explanation of the meaning of the quote ...... when a father gives, they both lough. This means that  the father is far more experienced than the son and if he's left to guide his son, they are likely to end up with good results , as in the final outcome of the son's status and way of life ....... when the son gives, they both cry ; this to me means that the son who is got little experience , and likely to be in rush with too many mistakes, diversions and loss of important opportunities and many other regretable actions will lead to undesired outcome , even end up as a criminal because he was left to call the shots at a young age (the son gives orders for one reason or another) ............ ultimately , they both blame each other for the horrible outcomes of the son giving; as the father failed to assume his responsibility and so was the son for not submitting to his fatherk's guidance. Reversed the roles, much ealier than it should have been. And they both end up CRYING. 

 

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ken007 | eNotes Newbie

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What does this quote mean...When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry?

Does this come from a Shakespeare play?

indeed this is a jewish proverb - more specifically from ladino, medieval spanish, still spoken by sephardic jews.  the quote may be found in the book: Literatura Sephardita De Oriente por Michael Molho.  Published by Consejo Superior de Investgciones Cientificas, Instituto Arias Montano, Madrid-Barcelona, 1960 - part of the Biblioteca Hebraicoespanola volume VII.

It is on page 55, phrase 601 and reads:

"Si el fijo le da al padre, llora el padre, llora el fijo;  si el padre le da al fijo, rie el padre, rie el fijo."

My father who always helps us out, loves this saying and uses it often!

 

I am learning french and like reading french citations. I found this one below. When looking for a translation, I found enotes with the english translation. I was wondering if this french quote is the original source as it is from the 1800's or did JF Bladé source the Spanish book.

Quand le père donne au fils, rit le père, rit le fils ; quand le fils donne au père, pleure le père, pleure le fils.
Jean-François Bladé  Proverbes l'Armagnac

Here is the link

http://books.google.ca/books?id=MzE4AAAAYAAJ&pg=PR11&dq=Jean-Fran%C3%A7ois+Blad%C3%A9+Proverbes+l'Armagnac&hl=en&sa=X&ei=zygYT5LwLqPZ0QHil_nOCw&sqi=2&ved=0CDMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Quand%20le%20p%C3%A8re&f=false

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cayam | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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the phrase, at least as used by my father, means that the father gets much pleasure and joy when he gives to his son.  obviously, the son does too - and so both smile. 

on the other hand, a father is quite sad when he is reduced to taking from his son, by the same token the son isn't happy with that situation either - and so both cry.

 

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cayam | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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What does this quote mean...When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry?

Does this come from a Shakespeare play?

indeed this is a jewish proverb - more specifically from ladino, medieval spanish, still spoken by sephardic jews.  the quote may be found in the book: Literatura Sephardita De Oriente por Michael Molho.  Published by Consejo Superior de Investgciones Cientificas, Instituto Arias Montano, Madrid-Barcelona, 1960 - part of the Biblioteca Hebraicoespanola volume VII.

It is on page 55, phrase 601 and reads:

"Si el fijo le da al padre, llora el padre, llora el fijo;  si el padre le da al fijo, rie el padre, rie el fijo."

My father who always helps us out, loves this saying and uses it often!

 

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bonnie79 | eNotes Newbie

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it truely is a sad time...yet we see it time and time again. To be 'proud' of your child be issubjective. Does this mean the child must be what you want them to be for you to be proud.

my daughter has just graduated with honours. 'Are you proud of me mum?" she asks.

"I am proud for you hon," is my reply.

 I am also proud in my role as mother, facilitating her abilities and passions so she could acheive at this level.

What ever your child does in life needs to be for their dreams ,desires and passions, not those of the parent. This is where the stuff ups occur!

 

to achieve

bonnie79's profile pic

bonnie79 | eNotes Newbie

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well I take it to mean something quite different applying a psychological basis.

When father or parent gives to their son/children a childs developmental growth is nutured, allowing the full capacity for healthy psychological growth and brain function.

When this is reversed, a father/parent is taking from their son/child which is self serving on the part of the parent and can lead to devlepmental arrest in the child. This then leads to conditions such as personality disorders and psychopathy.

I too saw that episode of criminal minds and was sure at the time that this was the context in which the quote was used

nusratfarah's profile pic

nusratfarah | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Then, would you kindly tell me which play it is from? I'm eager to know in which play of him, Shakespeare has used the proverb.

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ehcoles | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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It is indeed a quote from Shakespeare.  It was also used on the recent show Criminal Minds.

nusratfarah's profile pic

nusratfarah | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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The above quote is a Jewish proverb.

The quote suggests that, as the earlier answerers have stated, when a father contributes to his son's life by giving him something or fulfilling his demands, this brings smile to the son's face, and seeing his son's joy, the father also gets pleased. Thus, both of them are supposed to be happy, and both the father and the son laugh in that sense.

If the son, on the other hand, in the old age of his father, gives him something, it can make the father feel the sense of reliance upon his progeny, the feeling of insecurity, ageing, in fact, helplessness sometimes. This makes the father sad, and seeing the father's pathos, the son also becomes sentimental. And if the father is given something in his young age, it is supposed, he would definitely be gifted with something special by his son, and this touches both's hearts, and brings tears of joy in the eyes of both.

Tears can have double meaning: tears of joy and tears of sorrow. Nonetheless, whatever be the situation, the main factor is that, it is the warmth of the father-son relationship which make them cry.

mkcapen1's profile pic

mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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The words and the way this quote is written does not make me think that it is written by Shakespeare.  Shakespeare had a certain method of writing and this doesn't match his style.

I did a quote search and could not come up with the author but sometimes quotes get changed around the same way rumors do. 

When a father gives to his son the son is filled with joy that a father has given or done something for him.  The father is filled with the joy at having been able to do for his son.  This is the reason they both laugh.

When the son gives to the father it is usually more sentimental.  The father may have grown older and he now sees the fruits of his labor returned thorough his son's actions.  They cry because the sentimentality exists. 

 

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