Goats are funny creatures. They are bound to get themselves into trouble even when there is seemingly no trouble around. It’s through their little goat trials that you begin to realize how much of it applies to our own human lives. Here are five things a goat will teach you about life.
1. You need boundaries.
Anyone who has ever owned a goat knows that they like to be everywhere except where they are supposed to be and without set boundaries, a.k.a. a fenceline, they are bound to wander aimlessly. Isn’t the same true about us? Think about it this way: If you do not set a schedule, make a to-do list, or you give in to your whims over what needs to be done, you are often left feeling tired and frustrated because the things you needed to get done are still sitting in front of you. That sense of accomplishment is nonexistent.
What about setting boundaries with other people? Trying to do something for everyone else often leaves you feeling like you are losing who you are, like you are incapable of accomplishing tasks at home, or like you are being taken for granted. Learn to say “no” where it applies and say “yes” only to what makes sense. Baking 100 cupcakes for a bake sale may seem like you are doing something for a good cause, but if you are working full time, your kid is sick, and you have already volunteered your time to work at the local food pantry, baking 100 cupcakes would cause more stress and anxiety than it is worth. However, if life is running smoothly, by all means, have at it!
2. If you see a snake, run the other way.
Goats hate snakes. We live in Texas and not only do we have grass snakes and rat snakes, we have cottonmouths, copperheads, and rattlesnakes, all of which are venomous. Often when I sit and watch the goats grazing out by the back fenceline, they will suddenly turn and make a run for it. There is a large pond out behind the fence and it’s a perfect place for cottonmouths to slither about.
Not only should you avoid snakes in the literal sense, there are plenty of “snakes” in life. The term is usually used to reference a person that will slither in right under your nose to intentionally cause chaos. These are people that will say or do things that will ruin your goals, projects, and reputation. Don’t let these people into your life, and if you can’t avoid them, distance yourself.
3. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
Goats are notorious for escaping even the most well-engineered fencelines. They could have a whole field of tasty grass, weeds, and brush only to think that the neighbor’s perfectly mowed lawn is the place to be. That is until they get there and realize there is nothing to eat. How many times have you thought that if only you had a different job, a bigger house, or a more powerful truck, life would be so much better? It usually doesn’t take long to realize that those things you wished for aren’t always better for you.
4. If you get stuck, call for help.
Just this morning I heard a goat crying out. In a panic, I rushed out to see what was wrong. Our buck had gotten his head stuck in the fence. Funny as it may be to see, when the temperature is quickly climbing to a hot and humid 1oo degrees, the little guy wouldn’t have fared too well had he not called out for assistance. It’s no different for us humans. If you get stuck, sometimes asking for help can save a lot of heartache, and depending on the situation, could save your life.
5. Keep those who truly care about you close.
Where would we be without family and friends that truly love and care about us? Last year, our cashmere goat, Bonnie, was attacked by a dog. I heard her crying and ran at a dead sprint to save her. The dog had managed to figure out how to get past our fence and poor Bonnie was its victim. I drove off the dog, scooped her up, and ran her back to the house. Thankfully, I got to her in time and we only needed to give her three stitches and some antibiotics. But, from that day forward, she has never left our side. She knows we saved her.
Moral of the story? Keep those who love you close to you because they are the ones who will be there to scoop you up when it seems like your whole world is spiraling out of control.