‘Baa baa black sheep
Have you any wool
Yes sir, Yes sir,
Three bags full’
As a child, you may have recited that nursery rhyme. The rhyme reminds us that one of the reasons we keep sheep is for their wool. But we also keep sheep for their meat and milk. Sheepnomics is good, but of far more value in this post is eweducation. (For the purpose of this post we shall use sheep and ewe interchangeably)
By the way, I hope you know that ‘ewe’ is said exactly like ‘you’? Good! Now you know. So what are some characteristics of sheep that we can learn from?
In Eastern Nigeria, there is a saying: The sheep says there is nothing more important than to observe. Sheep (plural sheep) can sit around all day looking. Sometimes, people say this means sheep are stupid. But in observing, sheep are able to tell who their shepherd is. Sheep only follow the one person they know is their leader. Also while observing, sheep ruminate and chew the curd.
The power of observation can save us humans a lot in pain and heart ache. A young lady/man who stops to observe the person s/he is in a relationship with, will not be quick to get into marriage with someone he doesn’t know. The time spent dating /courting will be utilised in seeing how compatible you and your future partner are. And when you observe you take action. Remember, a sheep will not follow anyone who is not his shepherd neither should form marriage alliance with anyone who is not for you.
Speaking of following people, sheep teach us to only follow the true shepherd. Sheep have the ability to recognise the shepherd based on their observation and long-term facial recognition skills. Do you have the ability to recognise a true leader. Or are you easily deceived into following people who disguise themselves as shepherds?
A true leader will not be forced, coerced or pressured into leadership. He will not wait to be told ‘Hey! You are the leader we need’. No, a true leader begins the walk and then people see he is leading and follow.
A true leader does not preach virtue and practice vice. He does not wear a garb of humility over his pride and arrogance, only to strip it off when it suits him. He is neither abusive nor does he make himself unapproachable because he has many followers.
Let us learn from the sheep and use our powers of observation. What manner of leader only begins to speak up against rot and corruption when he is kicked out of the system of corruption he has been romancing with. Observe! Do no follow a false shepherd.
Moving forward, sheep are sacrificial animals. This perhaps explains why a sheep’s first reaction to a confrontation is to flee. But this in no way means sheep can not stand up for themselves. When pushed to a corner, an ewe will exhibit aggressive behaviour.
So, do you have a sacrificial spirit? What would you give to make your fellow man happy. A key problem Nigerians have had with their government is that they have been forcing them to make sacrifices while they loot and get fatter. Some have even gone as far as saying that they will give nothing because they get nothing. But the truth of the matter remains that you don’t make sacrifices because you are hoping someone else will reciprocate by making a sacrifice.
Jesus for instance, as Christians believe, made the ultimate sacrifice by giving up his life on behalf of his friends. Like Vicki Soto, first grade teacher who died protecting her pupils during the Newton school shoot out. Reports say, she threw herself in front of the gun man to save the children. What sacrifice could be greater than this?
Now, you are seated in a bus and someone in discomfort asks you to move over a bit, and you react angrily. Would you then be willing to run into a burning house to pull out someone who is in danger of being burnt to death. You may think that is the stuff super hero tales are made of, but remember Vicki? What do you think moved her? How many times have we seen someone facing a near death situation and instead of helping out, we pick up our phones and tweet at Gidi_Traffic? The ewe tells us to be sacrificial.
And did you know that taste is the most important sense in a sheep. You never know whether you will really like something until you try it. The sheep eats grass and it loves sweet grass. So go ahead try something new today. Perhaps a meal you’ve always shunned because of the tribe that prepares it. Many people from South West Nigeria now enjoy dishes from the South East, but I do know a lot of my South Eastern brothers who wouldn’t try out meals from other ethnic groups. Why not taste and see.
I am anabagail and next week will be time for another great discussion on Lessons From Animals:) till then just say eeeeeeewe:)