Elders take precedence over juniors; If both an elder and a younger accomplice commit a crime people always regard the older as more responsible. What happens in a household must be known by parents rather than the children.
While it may seem obvious that mouth will drink before the nose does, what is not so clear is the lesson that is derived from this by our elders. In reality the nose should not drink hence the same applies in the lesson. But the nose followed the example of the mouth and hence ended up drinking. Now if one was to ask the nose why it was drinking, the nose would respond that it was following the lead of the mouth. From this our elders gleaned the lesson that if an elder or leader land in the same trouble as a follower or younger accomplice, the responsibility must be shouldered by the elder or leader. This is because one would be following the lead of the other and the elder or leader is expected to be more responsible. Interestingly in the same way this is used to reflect that household matters should be know by the parents rather than the children because parents will shoulder the responsibility of what transpires in their homes. One who asks the children or blames the younger accomplice would have missed out on the persons who should be held accountable.
The proverb is used in two distinct ways. The first is to highlight the importance of elders taking responsibility above the youngsters in the event that both have done a similar wrong. The second is to emphasize the importance of parental responsibility in a household such that children cannot be fully responsible for mishaps in the home.