Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Calf Wrangling - THE STRAY

It should be no mystery cattle herd. So, why would we find strays wandering away from the comfort and security of the herd? Adverse weather, lack of adequate nourishment, search for shelter, presence of predators all contribute to the cause of a stray cow. A bovine’s propensity to flee from the herd also relates to handling practices by the cowboy. If the cattle has been acclimated with regular calm, humane handling they tend to stay. But, mistreatment from handlers causes skittish behavior and often a flight response at the smallest stressor. The propensity to flight is instilled in the psyche of the bovine even when the oppressing cowboy is absent. Obvious behavior looks like loud vocalization, large flight zones, or skittish, erratic movements. Additional outcomes a rancher might observe from stressed cows are low milk production or reduced meat quality at slaughter. A ranch observes greater output when cattle receive routine calm, humane interaction with handlers.

I am coming to learn stressors also contribute to my child’s likelihood of straying from “the herd” when they grow in to adulthood2. It is difficult for me to see adverse reactionary behaviors caused by stress in my toddler or preschooler. Instead, they seem to easily adapt and overcome their surroundings. This is disconcerting for me, because the stressors I introduce in to their young lives may be rooting the propensity to rebel when they are adults.

Upon reading Dr. Kimmel’s book “Why Christian Kids Rebel3,” I was awakened to stressors I might be placing on my children. My next step was to repent for imposing undue anxiety on them, ask for their forgiveness, and walk in the new path.

What are some of the behaviors I repent of?

  • Impulsive outbursts in response to behavior.
  • Being too permissive.
  • Not providing enough guided structure.
  • Inconsistency in administering household expectations.
  • Inadequate face-to-face floor time with my children.
  • Not being transparent in my thankfulness for the saving work of Jesus.
The essence of parenting is to guide my children to live full abundant lives with the goodness of God as their shelter and strength all while being nestled in His loving embrace. If they feel oppressed and misguided as His name is spoken they will make Him out to be what He is not. If I profess to be a follower of Christ, yet they do not see His teaching lived out in my daily life they will rebel from Him. My children will potentially see a fickle God, a distant God, or even an oppressive God. I want them to know a living God, a loving God who they easily long to embrace as their master. I pray they yearn to be a servant to Him.    

We must come to realize a “wild cow” that has had little calm, humane contact from his parents is likely to have a large flight zone.

Do not be deceived; God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
- Galatians 6:7

We must get on the floor and demonstrate our sincere interest in their activities. We must lovingly yet firmly direct their steps with God’s grace and mercy. We must make God the center of our life and the guiding light directing our every step so that they too will want the same for their lives (love the Lord . Our journey with Jesus cannot simply be a tradition we follow it must be the life giving force behind our everyday lives4.  

Our children must be encouraged to think for themselves and to seek Jesus as they encounter life’s turbulent weather, to find shelter in His goodness, and to hunger and thirst for Him alone rather than finding satisfaction in the trappings of the world (Psalm 32:8). They must know sin separates them from His goodness and coming to the foot of the cross in repentance reunites us to Him (Isaiah 30:15). We must demonstrate this truth with action each time we display our carnality to them and to others.

I will not see the harvest I sow now until years down the road but the tiny seed I plant will eventually become a large plant. I pray it is one with prosperous bounty rather than rebellious weeds.

I must not be passive to the strongholds I might impose on my children from my time of rebellion. I must eradicate the reactional behaviors and close the door to the work of the enemy by not impressing them on my children. I can allow my past mistakes and the plowed ground to be fertile learning environments. I must maintain an attitude of thankfulness and humility for the saving work Jesus has done in my life.


3. Kimmel, Dr. Tim, Why Christian Kids Rebel. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2004.
4. Sutherland, Edy, The Whee Factor. Winepress Publishers, 2011.


Anonymous said...

The Fear-of-God builds up confidence, and make a world safe for your children. Prov 14:26 Msg.