Have you ever noticed that some people suffer from a need for sheep.Personally, I felt the need for sheep coming back from my holiday, but that was simply because the grass had not been tended to for weeks and was ridiculously long.
But that is not the sort of sheep I am actually discussing here.Some people seem to measure their value based upon the number of people following them. But the problem with needing human sheep is that in order to keep them you need to be gifted at manipulation or bullying.
South Africa has an accepted ‘culture’ that tells. Expectations are such that if you tell somebody something they simply will abide. It’s a culture that is inculcated in schools through an education system that does not encourage dialogue and debate but one that favours memorization, regurgitation and conformity. Sadly, I have no intention of raising a daughter that simply does what she is told. In a strongly patriarchal society, I think it is dangerous.That being said, it is not to say, that there are not days where I reconsider the wisdom of that philosophy.
Days like this one, where she has simply told me that she will not attend an event that her school indicates is compulsory on a Saturday. I just wonder how long it’s going to take them to figure out that in their school of conformist sheep, there is a ‘little black goat’ (her words not mine).I suppose this is when you wonder, as the mother ‘goat,’ if your teaching has been a little too effective?
The bible also talks about sheep and a Shepherd. But what we often forget as Christians is that sheep follow a shepherd because of the relationship they have, not because they are simply told what to do. Anyone who’s ever chased sheep before knows that they will not easily do as wanted no matter how many sticks you hold.And so effective leadership will always come back to the value of the relationship you have with people and not the size of the stick you hold.
It is simply unfortunate that history seems to have to reteach this lesson on a regular basis.And I will get back to you on the matter of goats... The jury is still out...