One of my favorite things to do when I go home (to my parent’s house) is to go running with my brothers. It’s something we’ve done for years, decades, and it brings us back to simplicity.

Last weekend we decided to go for a run around town, 6.5 miles of good work on a beautiful Sunday morning. The runs are generally mixed with some conversation, both serious and lighthearted. We’ll get a hoot and a holler every once in awhile, but this past Sunday, we got something a bit more elevated than a “Hey, there!” or “Faster!”.

Don’t get me wrong, we were not seriously harassed, but it was enough to set me into “sheepdog strong” mode (I’ll explain more on that in a minute). As we were running, a car passed us by yelling and gesturing. We couldn’t make out exactly what they were saying, but it wasn’t nice, and it certainly wasn’t encouraging. As my one brother was suffering from the long run and high humidity, his spirits were already at a low point. He barked something back out of instinct, and we kept on running. I said out loud, “I so hope they get that red light.” I appreciate watching bullies crumble when face to face with adversity. They didn’t get the red light.

A few minutes later, here they come driving by us again barking and hollering in a not-so-nice tone, laughing and gesturing. These guys were bullies. They weren’t considering their actions. They’ve lived their lives in an assumed position of superiority, and chances are, no one has every cut them down to size. But this time, the red light came.

Never for one minute did I, or would I ever, intend to get physical with these jokers. They are nothing. Simple bullies. It sounds funny, but in a situation like this, if push came to shove, I would probably actually run away, like actually run :) I have nothing to prove. My intent was to let them know that IF today was their day and IF I was the wrong person, their antics would have caught up to them.

As I saw them hit the red light, I sped up, checked to make sure no cars were coming and started to flag them down (I may have made an improper gesture, and I’m not proud of that). As they saw me approach, they jumped the light and took off, yelling as they sped away – true signs of a bully.

When my brothers caught up to me, my one brother asked, “Why do you let stuff like that bother you?” My answer is this…It doesn’t bother me, per se. It bothers me these jokers could have been mocking and verbally abusing someone who doesn’t have the confidence or physical strength to stand up for themselves and that sometimes, it’s our obligation, people who have that strength and confidence to stand up for other people. It’s our duty to try our darnedest to stand up for what is right and speak up when something is wrong.

I first heard the term “sheepdog strong” in Mark Divine’s book, Unbeatable Mind. In life, there are sheep (followers), wolves (those who prey on the sheep) and sheepdogs (those who protect the sheep).

I believe every person who has the ability to be a sheepdog, should be a sheepdog.

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