Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The kicking cow

Very wise farmer was passing by a neighbor's farm when he saw a group of farm hands standing around a cow. He was flagged down and asked what they could do about this uncooperative cow. They were unable to milk the cow because it was giving a kick the moment anybody approached it. They could not get near the cow.

He told the farm hands, "I will find a way to stopping this kicking."

He took a long stick and, sitting a short distance from the cow, gently touched the cow's leg with that stick; it gave a kick immediately. After a few seconds he again touched it; it gave another kick. He sat there for the whole day, doing only one thing, gently touching the leg of the cow with the stick.

How long would the cow continue to kick? To the surprise of all who were witnessing this phenomenon, this touching and kicking went on for a full twelve hours. The cow, finally got fed up, tired, and stopped kicking.

The wise farmer then told them to milk the cow; it never kicked again.

This parable can be applied to people who are resistant (and kick) whenever any kindness is shown toward them. But if kindness only is consistently offered, at some point the resistance gives way to receptivity. From then on, the milk of human kindness can be free flowing without fear of pain or rejection.

Why do some people often react negatively to the efforts of others? The reasons vary, but it usually involves pain inflicted at the hands of one who was expected to provide protection, relief, and safety. While it is not our role to investigate the cause and history of another person's pain, it is our responsibility to be diligent in our efforts to show kindness and understanding.