One Swallow Doesn’t Make A Summer


I would imagine that when you looked at this title you wondered, “What in the world is he saying now?”  You might have had your mind go to your physical body and wonder if it had anything to do with your throat in swallowing.  Summer is quickly vanishing for some living in the northern part of the U.S.A, but what does summer have to do with one swallow.  Or if you were as old as I am or have been around me, you might have heard this old saying.  Below is a nest that a barn swallow builds underneath bridges or eves of houses with mud.  These nests are built by the barn swallows getting mud in mud holes and creating a nest for their young to be hatched.  As you might imagine, it is very messy when they dry and are done with the process of procreation.

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When I looked it up, I found out that this saying goes back to 1539 in Richard Tavner’s Proverbes or adagies with newe additions, gathered out of the Chiliades of Erasmus.  It refers to a barn swallow that comes up from South America in the spring and summer time to build their nests, procreate, and then fly back to South and Central America for the winter.  When you see one swallow flying into town, it doesn’t mean that summer is here.  When you see 100 swallows fly in, it doesn’t mean that summer is here  But if you see 100,000 swallows fly in a day you can be assured that summer is here.

When you relate it to personal life and changes that are needed to take place, to demonstrate a new behavior once doesn’t mean that change has happened.  To demonstrate that behavior a few times doesn’t mean that change has happened.  But to demonstrate that behavior over a period of time gives people indications that true transformation has happened.

To apply this to a relationship, let’s say that you want to quit drinking or smoking.  If you are successful in stopping the behavior one time, don’t expect others to jump up and praise you for your choice.  It’s in your consistently making that choice not to drink or smoke over a period of time that causes those around you to say that summer has truly come (the new behavior is real and genuine)

What is important for us to remember is that one  act (one swallow) of beginning to change needs to be recognized.  For the person who is observing someone wanting to change, affirmation goes a long way in helping to set up a new pattern of behavior.  The person wanting to change needs to realize that doing it once doesn’t create transformation, but doing it over and over and over does.

This journey involves the realization of change and the persistence to stick with it until real transformation takes place.

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About James Gorton

I am happily married to Nadine, a person I've known for 20+ years. She and her late husband owned Airpark Auto Service where I took my car for years. Four years after my wife died we began dating and the rest is history. We have a blended family of 6 children between us and love visiting them across this country. We recently had our third grandchild between us. We love to hike, bike and ski. I am a psychologist and do relational life coaching for marriages and families primarily. I love what I do and never get tired of seeing marriages and families move to more healthy places in their lives. Five years ago my oldest daughter Deborah encouraged me to begin writing my thought into a blog I call my Jlog (Jim's log). I have become more and more passionate in connecting everyday experiences to spiritual truths. I hope that as you read my Jlog, you will gain insight into your personal life and experience true growth in your personal and relational life.
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