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Attack of the Mad Ducks

Lori and I are trying desperately to maintain a healthy lifestyle in spite of an incredibly busy schedule lately. (I know, enough whining! Everybody is busy, right?) Our normal routine is to walk 2-3 miles each morning before we start our day. Because I get bored easily, we tend to rotate the places we walk. Recently, we were walking around Willow Springs Park  near our home when a very irritated pair of ducks began to squawk at us and in general just made a nuisance of themselves. I attempted to shoo them off with the usual “I’m bigger than you” routine but they were pretty insistent. Lori and I decided there must be a nest of ducklings nearby and went on our way. On the next lap around the park, they were more aggressive and I had to valiantly defend my bride. On the third trip by they were waiting on us. They had the path blocked at its most narrow point. We decided to change directions. (Although, I think I could have taken them!)

I spend most of my time helping churches think about change, and this little encounter reminded me of some key lessons in fighting battles of change:

  1. We often misunderstand how invested people are in their stuff. These ducks had no idea I wasn’t planning to harm their babies, but it didn’t matter. They were taking no chances. In church world, people often keep a suspicious eye on a new or transitional leader even though that leader wants what is best, because they value their organization, or their plan, or their way of doing things as much as the ducks value their nest. Before you try to make a significant change, be sure you know who is invested and how deeply!
  2. People like ducks often act on instinct. The ducks were just doing what they thought was best. Something big was approaching their baby. Essentially, their internal computer was giving bad information. People often get bad info from their internal computer (instinct). Something tells them you are attacking them personally. They have “the feeling” you are messing up. They get a vibe that you have a hidden agenda. Understanding that they don’t understand will help you keep your cool and not compound the issue.
  3. We need to choose our battles. When we made the third lap and our pathway was blocked, I saw no need to have a confrontation with an angry mama duck who was just doing what was instinctive. There was more than one pathway so there was no need to prove I could beat up a duck. There are some battles that are worth fighting and there is only one way to get there. In that case, do what is necessary while keeping a Christ honoring attitude. However, if there is another way to accomplish the goal, we are wise to consider it.
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2 Responses

  1. Good to see you blogging again… enjoyed this one and the last one. I have stepped my own blog recently with good results. Hope all is well with you in Johnson City. Hope to see you again soon.

  2. Hey Pete, I enjoyed your blog this morning. Good to see you and Lori serving the Lord and it is a wonderful thing that our God still wants to use us and mold us to His Kingdom’s work! His grace is sufficient and mercy unending. Till we meet again, Love in Christ, Wendell

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