“Don’t Drive Your Kids, Lisa”

Lisa Cherry —  June 2, 2014

cattle drive cowgirl 6043195994_12608ee0ae

Somedays I am tempted to act like the cowgirl in this picture.  You see, when there is work to be done and places to go and behaviors to be adjusted... I would like to get it all done NOW!

But one problem. Children are not like cattle to be driven. They are like sheep to be led. And I am not really like a cowgirl...I am more like a shepherd.

Wisdom and experience are proving to me what I suspected in my younger years of parenthood. Children, over time, will not "stick" if they are driven. They grow to resent the pushing from behind.

If we treat them like cattle, for a short time, we might see little compliant calves. But when they grow into bulls and heifers, they break from the herd!

As I look around me right now, I am watching so many brokenhearted parents come to this realization ....but many of them too late.

Now is the time for us to lead our children. Like a good shepherd with tenderness, tenacity, courage, foresight, and steadfastness. Actually, the way to do that is not that hard. But it takes intentional parenting over time.  

Good shepherds lead by example.  When we take the time to build close, loving relationships with our kids, something beautiful happens on the inside of them. They want who we are. They desire to imitate what we and they value.

Now obviously that does not happen all in one day. And for some kids not even all in one decade.

Good shepherds give the sheep some room to graze and some time to digest. They don't allow sheep to graze on poisonous grass or wander from the flock, and they are careful to protect their sheep from the wolves. But good shepherds wisely allow the rumination process (i.e. the chewing of the cud) some time tsheep - spring lamb 229819241_30cc157e52o work.

I love it when my kids come back and tell me about the revelation they just "discovered." And I am able to chuckle to myself and remember where they got the idea from. :)

But that is OK. They were busy ruminating over that life lesson as I was busy leading them to it.

Frontline moms and dads, I would love to hear from you and your experience with either driving or leading.

Am I right that there is something special about leading as a good shepherd? How have you switched from the natural temptation to drive to the spiritual principle of shepherding?

Image #1: buba_noi "LCHA 110" via Flickr Creative Commons
License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Image #2: Sarah MacMillan "Spring Lamb"via Flickr Creative Commons
License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Gratefully linked to:
Modest Mondays
Babies &  Beyond
Making your Home Sing Monday

  • Cindy Stephens

    When I read this today, it reminded me of a verse I have marked in my Bible. Isaiah 40:11 "Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, in His arm He will gather the lambs, and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes." Beside this verse I wrote, "Lisa: A Mother's Heart, 10-19-98." That was over 15 years ago and today again you sagely remind me to gently lead not roughly drive our children. Thank you for this encouraging post!

    • http://www.frontlinefamilies.org/ Lisa Cherry

      Cindy, this made my day!!! For those of you reading
      this comment, Cindy and I knew each other 15 years ago. We lost touch
      and just got reconnected YESTERDAY!! Someone passed her that post I sent
      out last week as a letter to homeschoolers. She followed the links and
      found me here....And now she found this note in her Bible?! Is that not
      amazing??? Cindy, thank you for reminding me of what I needed to
      remember!