If you think that shepherding is a cushy job well you had better think again. I have complete regard for the gentle leadership of a shepherd. The Lord is my shepherd has taken on a whole new meaning. Shepherding is not an easy job. It takes insight, strength, patience and a willingness to know your flock – not just one sheep or goat, but all of them.
Neot Kedumim is a Biblical Landscape Reserve in Israel near Modi’in. It is situated on 635 acres of hills and valleys with hundreds of Biblical and Talmudic plants, wild and domesticated animals, wine presses, threshing floors and cisterns. There are a number of activities that you can be a part of or you can meander through the fields and hills admiring the natural plants and trees.
When I saw a poster at school for a leadership seminar that included herding sheep, I thought, I’m down for that. A few weeks ago about twenty of us travelled to Neot Kedumim for the experience. Not only did we herd sheep and goats, we participated in several other activities in which we had to problem solve in small groups, including remembering which plant was tea and to light a fire without the aid of a lighter.
Here are some photos from herding sheep at Neot Kedumim. If you go to Facebook you can see two video’s of my team. You can hear us saying, “Yallah, Yallah!” Which, in Arabic, means, let’s go, come on.
This is what I learned about leading a flock.
1) Figure out who the lead sheep is, the one that all the other sheep look up to - befriend that sheep.
2) Your best position most of the time is within the flock, not in front of it. When you stand at the head of the flock you block their vision. When you stand in the center you are like them.
3) Sometimes standing behind the flock gets them moving.
4) Gently guide the stubborn one, there’s one in every flock.
5) Singing helps.
6) You need to keep the vision or the goal in your mind; the sheep sometimes forget or don’t know where they are headed.
7) You have to keep moving or else the flock begins to graze or go off in different directions.
The goal for us was to gather the flock and bring them to one large stone circle but not let them get inside. Then, we had to take them to another large circle, gather all of them inside and keep them there for 20 seconds. Not such an easy task.