Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Am I shepherding or sheep-dogging?

I had a random thought on parenting today. Am I shepherding or sheep-dogging? Sheep-dogs are used to round up a mob of sheep. They are amazing to watch. Their eyes firmly fixed on the sheep, they stalk, leap, run and occasionally bark behind the sheep, rounding them up and directing them where to go. I do this sometimes with my children! I round them up, stalking along behind them, eyes fixed firmly upon them, pushing them up the paddock of life. I leap and run to catch them before that bad habit develops or gets worse, pushing them toward good habits and healthy, educational goals. Sometimes I even bark!

A shepherd's sheep know his voice and follow his command. He intimately knows his flock, and they know him. They follow behind him while he has his eyes, most of the time, fixed on the destination. Looking ahead for the potholes and dangers, knowing which sheep will be tempted by that juicy grass or curious about the other hidden danger. He watches over them calmly and can move forward with confidence that they will follow. Beloved shepherds a lot. He doesn't need to say more than a few words, if any, and they slip into line. They slide their hand into his and gaze adoringly moments after being brought back into line by his 'shepherd's crook'. He very rarely barks!

I think I need to shepherd more!

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