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A Gift from a Shepherd

Having trouble with your neighbors? A farmer in Indiana was bothered by his neighbor's dogs who were killing his sheep. The traditional way that sheepraisers counter this problem is with lawsuits, or barbed wire fences, or even with shotguns as a last resort. This man had a better idea. He gave his neighbor's children lambs as pets. The neighbors then tied their dogs up voluntarily. In the process the families became friends.

The Oswego Valley Peace & Justice Council,
cited in Peace Network News, May 1994.

COMMENTARY: When there is a problem or a conflict, we often create distance or walls between ourselves and the trouble so it won't disturb us -- or we fight it in an effort to overcome or change what we don't like. We shut our doors, we turn our heads, we call the cops. Co-intelligence, on the other hand, has a bias towards building relationship, towards cooperation, towards greater life. The farmer may well have asked himself, "How can I get these folks to join me in protecting my sheep?" Notice how different that is from: "How can I stop these folks from killing my sheep?" This difference - a spirit of cooperation rather than resistance or domination- is an important feature of co-intelligence. It usually requires a good deal more creativity and courage to put into practice. But it builds bonds that will make future problems much easier to solve - and makes life more deeply enjoyable, as well.