The word kid was introduced into our language around 1200 AD and meant the young of a goat. Of course, you say, that is why we still call goat babies kids. But have you ever wondered why we call our children by the same name? I have, so I looked up the history of kid in my word origin book. Kid was only used to mean the young of goats and a few other animals for almost 400 years. Kid was recorded as being used to refer to a young child in 1599–but it was a derogatory term. No Christian parent would have called their child kid.
Unfortunately, kid has come into common usage. But I don’t like it. I am trying to retrain myself to call my children children, child, the children or by their first names. One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 40:11, which says, “He will tend His flock like a Shepherd; He will gather the lambs in His arms; He will carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” If God is our Shepherd, then we are His sheep and our children are lambs, not kids. Throughout Scripture, God refers to His people as sheep. He talks about separating the sheep from the goats in Ezekiel 34:17 and Matthew 25:32-33. Ezekiel 34:31 says, “And you are my sheep, human sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Lord God.”
Nancy Campbell, writing on this same topic, quotes her father who raised sheep in New Zealand, “Sheep will never go further than earshot from the little lambs.” She goes on to say that goat mothers herd all their young into one spot and then “leave while they go off to forage for the day.” And she wonders, “Has ‘kids’ become the accepted word for children today, because we have become a generation of ‘goat mothers’? Instead of staying close to their lambs, thousands of mothers are dropping them off at nurseries and day care and going off to fulfill their own careers. This is ‘goat mothering’. No wonder we call our children ‘kids’!”
Do you think it is just an accident that our culture calls its children ‘kids’? Words have the power of life and death. They have a history. We don’t say things just ‘because’. Words have an Author, and the words we use ought to reflect His truth. Satan wants us to speak words of death and deception. He is a counterfeit god who delights in twisting everything that God says and does. To call a child a kid is to say that they have the character of a kid. Goats are rebellious creatures, and we should not label our children as such. They are blessings from God, who do need training and discipline, but who do not have to go through life with rebellion in their hearts.
I do not want to be like a goat, who always leaves her kids with all the other kids and goes off to do “adult” things. I want to be like a sheep who tenderly cares for her lambs and even protects them from danger. This is one reason why we have chosen to keep our children close to us almost all of the time. It involves sacrifice. I don’t get to do a lot of things I’d like to do. But I am with my children, loving, training, and protecting them from spiritual dangers as well as from physical ones. Most importantly, I am able to direct them to follow the True Shepherd–to listen to His voice, to obey His every command. I would not trade that for all the opportunities in the world to pursue my own “greener pastures”.
The Shepherd is calling. Will we follow Him or the world? We will be given much if we obey His voice, because Jesus, who is God, became a lamb like us so that He could be our Shepherd: He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), and in heaven, the Lamb will be in our midst and He will be our Shepherd. He will guide us to springs of living water and wipe away every tear (Revelation 7:17). Danger hides behind every rock. Do we realize how much Satan wants our children? Will you join me in changing from saying kid to saying children? Will you be a goat mother or a sheep mother? Will your children be kids or lambs?