What Makes Ronnie Roll: Herd Your Goat

By: Ali ElizabethTurner
Mayor Ronnie and I have both been enjoying and discussing the wisdom and vulnerability of Steve Gilliland as he talks about some of the hard lessons he has had to learn in his book, Hide Your Goat: Strategies To Stay Positive When Negativity Surrounds You. This chapter is called “Herd Your Goat,” and its subtitle is “The Strength To Accept Where You Have Been.” One of Steve’s strengths is that he is very open about the relationships he destroyed, and what he has done with his “second chance.”

In this chapter, Steve particularly focuses on social media, and how it ends up being a reflection of a person without them even knowing it. Here is a quote that struck the mayor and me as we sipped fresh coffee:

“I have always believed that if you can change the way you think, you will change your world forever. Looking at someone’s Facebook page will easily determine how that person thinks. ‘Uncommon people,’ [those that are the exception] listen to, learn from, and edify other people… ‘Typical people’ talk about themselves. They will post information intended to inflate their egos and make themselves…appear to be something they are really not. ‘Sad and miserable people’ talk about other people. They will post negative things about other people…[and] solicit responses to situations that should be handled privately.”

I like to describe the rants of “sad people” as “Facebook fights,” and if Facebook had been around before Steve G. had embraced his current life as a “goat herder,” he would have been leading the charge and mixing it up with the best of ‘em. Because of the hard work Steve has done to “hide his goat so it can’t get gotten,” he has come to the following firm but compassionate conclusion:

“These [sad] folks have never had the courage to discover and admit who they are, and, even sadder, have never taken the time to herd their goats from the past and break the cycle of negative behavior that has been passed on to them from their families.”

We both agreed that in no way did we want to be “sad people,” and Mayor Ronnie went on to tell me about how some of the positive fruit of the Mayor’s Youth Commission has been made manifest after a few years of “husbandry.” “You never know if what you say is going to actually get through,” he said. He added, “A couple of kids from one of the very first groups came to tell me that they had remembered something I had said regarding actions having consequences. It actually helped them to make the right decision and stay out of trouble.” The hope is that these and the rest of our kids will also choose to stay out of Facebook fights and use the manners their parents and teachers hopefully have taught them. We as adults must show them that being “goat herders” is a most noble profession, especially on Facebook!

As far as things that are happening in our city, there is much to celebrate. The tennis courts at Big Spring and Swann Creek have been repaired, and they look gorgeous. The poly-fields at the Sportsplex are being built, and the first walk-through at the new high school was last week. The new surgery center is coming along, and all kinds of highway repair and renovation is happening in the city.

The former high school teacher who also happens to be our mayor is always excited for a new school year, and Mayor Ronnie had a strong admonition for kids who are now behind the wheel: “Slow down, and turn off your phone while you are driving!” I am sure they’ll hear it again once the Youth Commission starts back up.

We groaned for a moment with regard to the current mud-slinging in the US Senate race, and decided to pray for the outcome, that it would be in keeping with the Kingdom. Then it was time once again for Ronnie to roll.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner