“It is useless to lecture a human.”
— Rick Riordan
Have you ever worked with a donkey? They can be some of the most stubborn creatures known to man and have pretty solid reputations for that. I remember plans that were once made for a beautiful live Nativity after a Christmas Eve Service one year. All characters were in place; the sheep rested beautifully next to the shepherds; even the lone camel cooperated near the wise men. Then, there was the donkey. This stubborn animal not only refused to stand next to the makeshift Inn, he decided he needed to be smack dab in the middle of everything – right next to the infant playing Jesus.
The service ended and as members of the congregation left the church, they were greeted with the site of a donkey blocking the view of Mary and leaning over the baby Jesus. After some laughter and snickers, one man approached the Nativity. Stepping into the middle of things, he walked up next to the donkey calmly petting him and murmuring low in his ear. Several minutes of this pass and the man stepped forward leading the donkey and guiding him beside Joseph. Everyone was shocked but none more than those of us who had been watching the process from before church let out.
This simple moment between a man and a donkey is a testament to the power of relationships. We will all come into contact with stubborn people in our lives. They may be coworkers, friends, or even family. They may be a spouse or children. In every situation we have a choice. We can choose to try and bend them to our will, or we can approach them calmly and walk alongside them as we help guide their path.
The choice is yours.