IS THERE A BETTER WORD THAN "KIDS"?
The most common word for "children" in our society today is the word "kids." Is this a word that God has chosen to call our children? We do not see it anywhere in the Bible in relation to children. In fact, if you check the 1928 Webster's Dictionary you will not find this word for children. "Kids" is a modern word, which has been added in later years.
I have to confess that for a long time, I also used this word. I did not like the word and never felt that it was right, but I succumbed to the trend around me. How easily we do things just because everyone else is doing them, without thinking whether it is actually the best thing to do!
However, there came a time when I was challenged. I read an article about a sheep farmer in New Zealand. This farmer had diversified into raising goats, as well as sheep, and he noticed an interesting comparison. The ewes remained close to their lambs, watching them while they fed. He noticed, however, how the goats herded their young together in one spot on a knoll of a hill and left them while they went off to forage for the day. They did not provide the same individual attention which the sheep gave to their offspring.
My mind ticked over as I read this, but before I accepted it, I thought I should check out if it was really true. I asked my father who is an authority on sheep. He was the World Champion Sheep Shearer in his younger days and has shorn over a million sheep in his lifetime.
"Yes," he said, "Sheep will never go further than earshot from the little lambs."
I was very challenged. Has "kids" become the accepted word for children today, because we have become a generation of "goat mothers"? Instead of staying close to their lambs, thousands of mothers drop them off at nurseries and daycare, leaving their little "lambs" to fulfill their own careers. This is "goat mothering." No wonder we call our children "kids"!
THE CHARACTER OF GOAT
A lady in Australia, shared with me that she and her husband used to hunt wild goats for a living in out-back New South Wales. She observed that in the face of danger the nanny goat would leave her little kids unprotected and run from danger to save herself. And yet the sheep, which is a docile animal, will protect its young.
While walking around the ewes and lambs with my father in New Zealand one time, I noticed a little new-born lamb, struggling to its feet for the first time. I crept right up to it to get a picture. The mother ewe was scared of me and ran away a couple of yards, but because of her protective instinct over her lamb, she came right back to guard her baby, even though she was afraid! She was a protecting mother who would not leave her young.
Another thing this lady in New South Wales noticed was that the goats were cowards and would give up easily. When they caught the goats live, they would turn them over onto their backs. She said that the goats did not struggle. Their eight-year-old daughter was able to put her foot on the goat's neck and it waited until they came to tie it up.
A farmer's wife from New Zealand wrote to me, "Over many years we have raised lambs on our land and indeed the sheep are wonderful mothers. This year, for the first time, we had goats and baby kids. One Sunday, as we drove in the front gate we heard a loud bleating and stopped to check. There, on top of the hill were young twins, brown and white and no mother anywhere at all. My eight-year-old son was very worried and kept going back to check. After two hours they were cold and getting weaker so we heated bricks, wrapped in newspaper, and went to warm them and prepare to feed these "orphans." When we arrived, there to our amazement, was the mother, who was not dead, but had simply gone off to feed. She must have continued this neglect because not long after, the little white kid was taken by a fox."
I am sure we do not want to be classified as one of these goat mothers!
This is certainly not the kind of character we want to speak into our children either, is it? Do we really want them to be like "kids"? We used to have a pet goat when we were children, and although we loved "Jilly" she was the biggest problem of our lives. We were always in trouble with neighbors as she would get into their gardens and eat their flowers, vegetables and trees-- and their clothing hanging on the line! We were not very popular! Goats by nature are independent, proud, rebellious, destructive, and yet cowardly in the face of danger.
THE CHARACTER OF SHEEP
God always likens His people to sheep, who by nature are meek and submissive.
- Psalm 79:13, “So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks forever.”
- Psalm 95:7; 100:3, “We are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.”
- Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way." (Psalm 119:176, 1 Peter 2:25.)
- John 10:1-15, “He calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out... he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.”
Even Jesus Himself is likened to a sheep because of His total submission to the Father’s will.
- Isaiah 53:7, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, and yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”
- John 1:29, “Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
GOD SEPARATES THE SHEEP FROM THE GOATS
The people whom God calls "goats" are those He separates from His company.
- Zechariah 10.3, "I punished the goats: for the Lord of hosts hath visited His flock..."
When God visits His flock, He will separate the sheep from the goats and punish the goats! The goats and the sheep are in the flock together, but only one belongs to Him, the sheep. We noticed this when we visited Israel a number of times and saw the Bedouin shepherds with their little flock of goats and sheep. They both look alike, and from a distance you cannot tell the difference. In the church today, the goats and sheep are all in the flock together, but there will come a day when God will visit His flock, and He will separate the one from the other.
Ezekiel 34:17 GNB says, "Now then, my flock, I, the Sovereign Lord, tell you that I will judge each of you and separate the good from the bad, the sheep from the goats."
Matthew 25:31-46. "When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left....and these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."
After realizing all this I decided that I did not want to be part of the goat company. I did not want to impose the goat character upon my children. Our children should be different from the children of the world. I therefore made an effort to stop using the word "'kids." And now I hate to hear other people using it.
Let's start a revolution and eliminate the word "kids" from our society!