We’ve all seen it before on some nature program, a book or even in a movie. A sick or injured animal gets isolated by the predators and that’s the way nature is. As Biologists and naturalists well know, it is the way of nature.
But today, I saw a different story. I was watching a documentary called, “The River of No Return.” The narrator was astonished to see an injured elk, isolated on the top of a ridge by wolves, suddenly defended by another elk who proceeded to chase away the wolves – at the risk of her own life. The narrator didn’t hide his surprise and admitted what he had just seen went against everything he’d ever learned in biology.
Sometimes it seems like we’ve been injured and there is nothing left to do but submit to the ways of nature, find our dying ridge and wait for the inevitable. But today I learned that nature has compassion. There is reason to hope.
When looking back on my first experience of having to deal with someone’s nocturnal enuresis, I realize I came from the shaming camp. Please cut me some slack. I was a teenage counselor for the first time at a Christian summer camp. I thought the best way to make sure one of my girls (whose bunk just happened to be above mine) didn’t wet her bed again was to make her carry her bedding up to the camp lodge and laundering facility. She cried the entire walk.
Did it work? Well, if you look at it strictly from the clinical view, yes. That girl never wet the bed again the rest of that week. The rest of her life, well who is to say? She probably thinks of me as that evil camp counselor that didn’t know how to show compassion.
Since those days at summer camp, I’ve learned that someone who sees you at your worst and tries to help you overcome it without broadcasting it to the world, is someone you want to win for. Someone shaming you so you will never repeat your crime again will never get your vote for inspirational person that changed my life award. If I had it to do all over again, I would have taken the time to tell all the other girls, hey, Gracie over here is going to help me with a project, you guys go line up at the flag pole without us, we’ll catch up with you later.
I’m glad my children are growing up in a society where coaching is being taught and actively practiced. I hope that the many people they encounter during their lives will take the time to coach them, instead of the easy to get it over with shaming method. By the way, it’s not new. It’s the method Jesus chose. He didn’t shame us, but chose to come down to our level, walked beside us and helped us see a better way. He definitely gets my vote for inspirational person who changed my life!