I was driving the other day and saw two young goats just banging heads. Now, I’ve seen it before, but this time, it mesmerized me. Since I had some spare time, I pulled off to the side and watched as these two billies set their front paws, rose on their rear legs and lurched forward. You could see the explosive force of the impact ripple from their heads, through their bodies all the way to their tails. After the recoil, they would do it all over again. Frontal sinuses in goats have been hypothesized to function as shock absorbers, protecting the brain from blows during combat. Since these appeared to be young goats, I suspect the head butting was play … play, as part of practice to become an adult. It’s all part of the dominance hierarchy.
I watched for about 10 minutes before I literally started to get a headache. But the spectacle did get me to thinking. We’re a lot like dumb goats, too, butting heads with our spouses, children, siblings and friends to prove our “dominance.” And I suppose we look just as silly to outside observers.
How many times have we dug in our heels to prove a point? How many blows to the head did it take to get our message across? How hardheaded do we have to be?
It doesn’t matter what the issue is. We have a tendency to become like goats when our opinions are challenged. We would rather be “right” than play nice in the sandbox. Just look at Washington … or conservatives and liberals in the same room … or our churches with their ever-growing dogmas and denominational splits … or even as close as Facebook or Twitter. Instead of using our brains to focus on our similarities, we set our feet and lurch forward at those who challenge us. And, unlike goats and their frontal sinus shock absorbers, our brains get scrambled and we become even more entrenched in defending our differences.
I’ve may have been called an old goat on occasion, but I really don’t want to be a goat. I couldn’t afford the Excedrin.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: When we forgive others, we take away their power to hurt us.