Get my goat

This holiday season I feel honored to know that a gift has been made to Heifer International in my name. A family in need will receive a goat to help them economically and nutritionally. That family will agree to give one offspring of their gift goat to another family in need. In this season of giving and shepherding, "my" goat makes me happy.

E. F. Schumacher's book, Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered influenced my thinking more than most books I read back in college. The concept of human-scale economics and technology to build sustainable communities while respecting the environment seems as important now as then, and maybe more.
So many of the systems controlling our lives lack any relation to human-scale. We have education systems where children don't matter except as they produce acceptable test results. Ask anyone who has spent time dealing with healthcare and health insurance lately, and they'll tell you they felt like the patient didn't matter. Billions and gazillions of dollars are being spent on wars where the people who should matter need clean water, adequate shelter, and the peace and stability to raise their goats and crops.

High on a hill was a lonely goatherd pondering how we can change the systems, and bring them back to human-scale, to change the focus so people matter. How can one person make a difference? What can be the impact of one goat?

In my year working with a small group of preschoolers, I hope that I have shared some moments that will impact their relationships with each other and with the environment. Those are big words to say that we held hands and watched a spider spin a web together. And we came back the next day and the next to check on the spider and its web.

On a different note, one might ponder the impact of the goat on so many words and phrases in our language. Give yourself the holiday treat of a moment in the Online Etymology Dictionary goat department!

© 2007 Nancy L. Ruder

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