Cattle and Sheep

26 04 2010

Back in the good old days, maybe ten years ago, when men were men and newspapers were newspapers, before the whole journalism industry fell off a cliff, they used to print the news whether we liked it or not, because it was good for us.  And we bought it, because it was good for us, just like we took our medicine even though it tasted horrible, because it was good for us.

Back then they (The Washington Post) began writing a page called the KidsPost.  They took pertinent news topics and wrote about them in a way youngsters could digest.  They always started from square one, never assuming any prior knowledge on the subject matter.  And if the story was very complicated, they left out enough details so that not-quite-developed-brains could digest it.

(Nowadays KidsPost is often just a bit of fluff.  Case in point: today it’s about lice.)

But back in the early days, if, for instance, you came in a little late on the Valerie Plame debacle, because you were busy

  • sewing sequins on a Halloween costume
  • making cupcakes for a Christmas party
  • collecting money for PTA dues
  • stuffing envelopes for Save the Whatever Foundation
  • measuring kids for their band uniforms
  • making a late night ink cartridge run because the paper was due TOMORROW,

you might not have a clue what was going on.  But ten minutes with the KidsPost on the issue, and you were back in business.

And no one else had to be any wiser about your cheat sheet.

My point is that sometimes kid-sized can be adult-sized too.

Which brings us to church yesterday.  The sermon was on the 23rd Psalm.  “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”  etc. etc. Our poor pastor had to recite the text twice because some people wanted to hear it in Revised Standard Version and others were sticklers for King James.  (But that’s for another post about battle lines being drawn between traditional services and contemporary services.)  He gave a good sermon about the topic, but as I sit here now all I can remember is his children’s message.

He talked about going on a cattle drive.  It was the first time he’d visited his future wife’s family, who ran a cattle ranch.  He could barely ride a horse but got “roped in” to accompanying the fellows as they moved so many cattle from HERE to THERE.  He explained how you have to come up behind the cattle and whoop and holler and whistle to get them to MOVE.

But, he said, you can’t herd sheep.  They refuse to be pushed around.  To move sheep, you get in front of them and let them follow you.

So I learned something yesterday.

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