Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 46 : Feed My Sheep | Day 322

Know Your Flock!

The father was shocked when his 18-year-old daughter ran away from home. When he called me for counsel I asked him if he thought he knew his daughter. After a moment he said, "Well, I've had 18 years with her. I guess I know her." I then asked him four or five questions on matters that would be important to his daughter, and he could not answer any of them. He then began to realize that he didn't know his daughter as well as he thought he did.

When I talked to the daughter, she affirmed, "My father doesn't really know me. He rarely talks to me and doesn't show interest in my life or what I am thinking." This is certainly contrary to the statement Jesus made about His own shepherding: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them ...” (John 10:27).

“Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds” (Proverbs 27:23).

About 15 years ago, a series of questions for fathers to ask their sons and daughters was developed. I encouraged fathers to meet with their children individually and go through these questions, writing down the answers that were given. Then, fathers were to design practical projects for their children based on the needs that were discovered.

Recently, one of the fathers who carried out this exercise more than 15 years ago asked his son and daughters, "Do you remember those questions I asked you and the projects we did?" They enthusiastically responded that they did remember and that these interactions with their dad were cherished memories. Here are the types of questions that were asked:

  1. Who is your best friend? What qualities do you admire in him or her? Does this friendship tend to build you up or pull you down?
  2. What do you want to do with your life? Whom do you want to be like? What skills do you want to develop? Do you wonder what God's will is for your life?
  3. What fears do you experience? (Fear of the future? Failure? Rejection? Abandonment? Past failures being revealed?)
  4. What books have influenced you the most? How did they influence you? Have you ever thought about writing a book? What topic could you write about?
  5. What things in our family discourage you? (Clutter? Conflicts with siblings? Tension between parents? Unfinished house repairs? Lack of space? Rules?)
  6. What changes would you like to see in me? (More time spent with family? Less time watching television or on the Internet? Not getting upset or angry? Greater spiritual leadership?)
  7. What do you enjoy doing in your free time? (Sports? Reading? Projects? Time with friends?)
  8. What hurts have you experienced from others? (Friends? Family? Neighbors?)
  9. What things about yourself or your past would you like to change?
  10. If you could ask God any question, what would you ask Him?

Setting aside an afternoon or weekend to spend with each child and going over these and other questions would make a profound impact upon your children and you. The better you know the members of your flock, the better equipped you will be to shepherd them. Why not look at your calendar right now and designate a time that you could begin this project.

In your journal this week, write down the needs you are aware of in the lives of those under your care, and ask God to show you creative ways to meet those needs as you seek to feed God's lambs and sheep.

“Simon ... lovest thou me more than these? ... Feed my lambs. ... Lovest thou me? ... Feed my sheep. ... Lovest thou me? ... Feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard