Getting Ahead: ‘Kicking the Bucket’


“Kicking the bucket” is a phrase that is many times used for dying, but if you were raised on a farm you know that it is something that really happens.

It was my job to milk the cow every morning before school and every night when I got home from basketball practice. That would mean getting up many days before daylight and doing the evening milking after dark. I really was not in the mood for what could happen.

Many times the cow would kick forward to clear the flies from her belly or something would startle her and she would kick her hind leg forward. The bucket would be in the path of her kick and she would upset it, spilling the milk that I had worked so hard for. Even worse were the times that she would miss the bucket on her forward kick and would end up stepping in it as her hind leg retreated from its forward motion.

When that happened, the milk was not only ruined, but the bucket had to be cleaned out because her hoof would have all of the nasty stuff from off the floor of the barn on it. I learned quickly that to punish the cow for kicking the bucket was counter-productive.

When I got upset with her, she got upset and it made things worse. I would then have a hard time getting her to stand still long enough to even get the bucket set in the right place. If she was upset enough, she would draw up and not let her milk down which meant that I wasn’t going to get supper until she decided to settle down.

We all have had to deal with people that are messing up and kicking over everything that is meaningful in their lives. It is easy to get upset with their actions. The chain of events that lead to our cow kicking over the bucket started with the flies or something that startled her.

Could it be that these people, we are trying to help, have something that is triggering their actions? Are they ruining their life because their attention is constantly being distracted? If we get upset with the situation; is it helping or hindering them? Can our reaction to their actions actually make the situation worse? Is there a right and proven way to deal with the cause and distraction that is ruining them that will make their lives productive?

These and other life questions will be addressed Sunday morning as “The Gathering Place Family” meets in the Washington High School Library for Bible study at 9:30 a.m. and in the gymnasium at 10 a.m. for our Pre-Service Connection where we enjoy coffee, juice and donuts. Our Worship Service and Children’s Church then begins at 10:30. Come at 7 p.m. and be part of our Wednesday night Bible Study and Children’s Ministry on the third floor above Trends at 120 W. Court St. in Washington C.H.

By John G. Pfeifer

Religion Columnist