Don’t Let Them Get Your Goat

Isn’t that an interesting phrase? What does it mean when someone “gets your goat?” It means that they really upset you, unsettle you or steal your peace. Where does the phrase come from? Funny you should ask. There are lots and lots of opinions, but the most plausible to me is this: As early as the 1700’s people often kept a goat as a companion animal for their horse- especially a race horse. Horses are herd animals and need companionship to feel safe. Goats were (and still are) frequently used as companion animals for horses. And race horses of course- are notoriously skittish creatures as you certainly know if you’ve ever watched the trainers attempt to load horses into the starting gates at horse races like the Kentucky Derby, Belmont or Preakness. So to have someone “get your goat” meant your horse suddenly lost it’s peace and was now agitated and upset; difficult to handle and on edge.

Has someone gotten your goat lately? Perhaps it’s a husband, parent, in-law, sister, neighbor or even your child. When someone “gets your goat” you become agitated and upset; difficult to handle and on edge. And you won’t be able to run your best race! Peace and companionship are essential ingredients to successful homeschooling.

I talked at length several weeks ago about finding like-minded companions you can talk honestly with in a blog entry entitled “The Spit and Whittle Club.” ( If you haven’t read it- please do.

The other ingredient besides companionship is peace. We mustn’t let anyone “get our goat” and become agitated because parenting and homeschooling both require a cool head, nerves of steel and a peace that transcends all understanding!

The Prince of Peace Himself said again and again, “Peace be with you.” And Paul says in Phil. 4:7 “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

If you haven’t read Psalm 23 lately, today is a great day to do that…

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,

he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

If someone has “gotten your goat” lately and left you agitated and unable to run your best in the race that’s been set before you, take a few minutes to call on the Lord and let peace reign in your heart.

Talk with your children about the origins of the old saying we’ve talked about today. Remind them that when someone “gets their goat” they too can find peace once more. Let them know that if they’re to run their best race in life they need peace that transcends understanding- just like mommy.

Today might be a fun day to learn more about goats or horses; both are fascinating creatures and subject worth studying. Can you visit a goat or horse today? Do you have a friend with animals? A petting zoo perhaps? Or just read a great book about horses or goats. Then share the verses in today’s discussion with your children and together- enjoy a peaceful day of homeschooling.


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Edwena said,

    Thanks so much for this post. It was a big help as I have an upcoming surgery that’s been in my thoughts too much.

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