Director’s Blog: Being Gentle with One Another

Post - DB - Blue Heron

Being Gentle with One Another

Early one morning as I was drinking my coffee I observed a spectacular sight. A large Great Blue Heron came flying by and landed in a tall evergreen tree across from our place. It is not unusual to see this in this part of the world, but this particular bird landed with such grace that the flimsy branch it landed on did not move. I observed it for some time and noticed how still both bird and tree were. The Great Blue Heron is a large bird; it stands between 1.15 to 1.38 meters tall, has a wing span of up to 2.01 meters, can weigh as much as 3.6 kg. You would think a bird this size would cause quite a disturbance when landing, but it did not.

To see a bird of this size land in a tree without causing a stir made me think. It made me think about our lives and how we live them. Do we stir things up where ever we go? Are we always shaking people lives to the point where they do not look forward to our arrival? Are we graceful in in the way we live? Do we take time to be still or are we always on the move?

I then began to think of the life of Jesus and how He lived it. Though at times He would shake things up and cause a stir, He would also take the time to be still and gentle.

It was around the religious elite when Jesus stirred things up, especially when they took advantage of the people. Jesus did not tolerate injustice and hypocrisy. However, around the average person regardless of their gender, race, and religious affiliation he was gentle, strong but gentle. He had the ability to challenge people regarding their sins in a gentle and loving manner. I think of the women accused of adultery, which the Pharisees wanted to stone, and how Jesus spoke such simple yet profound words to her, “go and sin no more.”

He also healed people without condemning them, like the blind man, who people thought was blind due to his sin or sins of his parents. Jesus answered the people by saying,

“It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

And there is no better picture of Jesus’ gentle way as when the children came to Him and those around Him tried to prevent the children from reaching Jesus, and He rebuked them.

As I thought about all this, two things came to mind. First, we need to know when it is time to stir things up and when it is time to be gentle. I think in life the stirring up moments should be few and far between. I once heard that war is 90% boredom and 10% action, I think this could apply to life.

The second lesson is for those of us who work with children, especially the vulnerable children of this world. As we work among them let us remember that we appear as giants to them, especially the small ones. We need to imagine ourselves standing next to a person and only coming up to his or her waist. Imagine this giant speaking harshly to you, how much fear you would have in that situation. When we are harsh, our size magnifies that harshness. As Suzette Haden Elgin says in her book, “The Gentle Art of Communicating with Kids”:

“Ninety-nine percent of us, regardless of our age, express hostility primarily through our language. The only way to reduce our hostility and loneliness that threatens us is by using language that will reduce and diffuse hostility in our lives and help build strong social networks…Nothing you can do to guard the health and fitness of our children is as important as seeing to it that their language environment doesn’t poison them and make all our other efforts worthless.”

I believe we can apply this to all our interaction with people regardless of their age. As the feathered giant showed me, even giants can be gentle. I pray that we will all learn from Jesus; let us all work on the fine art of being gentle with one another.

Sergio Signature 2


Twitter: @voh_africa

Scroll to Top