Saturday, June 7, 2014

Lessons from the Guineas

While John and I were visiting his cousin Randy one afternoon, we watched a line of guineas pompously marching to the bird pen. As the guineas approached the open gate of the pen on the side where the gate was pulled back to make a small angle with the pen, the first two guineas, walking in tandem, smartly went around the gate, hopped over the threshold, and entered the pen.
     All of the other guineas behind them, however, followed the third guinea’s lead; and instead of going around the gate into the pen, they all walked into the center of the angle where the gate touched the pen.   They then looked as if they were moving in a sideways “V”!!
    The third guinea stopped when he literally couldn't go any farther because he was jammed between the fence and the gate.   The other guineas following him continued to move forward until they too had to stop because they had bumped into him.  They had crowded so tightly into him that he couldn't move forward or backward.  After several seconds, the birds finally gave up, turned around, and marched back into the woods.   Randy then had to walk behind them and herd them into the pen from the other direction to make sure that they were safely home at last!

While it was amusing to watch the little guineas,  the incident reminded  me of how we humans can also get ourselves into similar predicaments when we brainlessly follow the leader.  
1. We can run into dead ends with no instructions for getting ourselves out of a situation.
2. We must watch where we are going and not assume our companions know the way to go; we must question them and pay attention to the world around us. 
3. And then, when we can’t find the way to our shelter, we need a leader who is bigger, more powerful, and smarter than we are who will have compassion on us and herd us into a safe place.