Spiritual Musings from an Educated Redneck

An inside look of the mind of Pirate Pops


It’s been a while since I blogged. Several reasons for that but this one just had to come out.  Because I am an avid outdoorsman this research really caught my eye.  It seems that ethologists (scientists who study animal behavior) have discovered something really interesting about turkeys (the gobble gobble kind not the human kind).  Specifically about mother turkeys.  It seems that their nurturing instinct is “triggered” by the cheep-cheep sound of their chicks.  When they hear that sound they kick into full turkey nurturing mode.  If the chick doesn’t chirp the mother will often ignore it and sometimes even kill it!

This intrigued the ethologists so they did an experiment.  The polecat ( catch-all term for several different types of carnivorous weasel type creatures such as a ferret, skunk etc.) is a natural enemy to the mother turkey and her chicks.  Researchers stuffed a polecat, tied a string on it and pitched it in the vicinity of the mother turkey. She immediately went on the attack!  But then when they put a tape inside the stuffed polecat that emitted the “cheep-cheep” of a turkey chick she would kick into full nurturing mode again  Even with the stuffed polecat!  So strong is the trigger of that sound in her that it overcomes everything else.   Ethologists have discovered that this type of  “trigger” behavior is not unique to mother turkeys but has been found in a wide range of species.

Now we know that animals act out of instinct.  Instinct is a God-given mechanism in these animals that they don’t think about, have no control over, and don’t even understand.  It just happens.

As I read this research my thinking immediately went to humans.  We don’t operate by instinct, but by choice, reason, and most often, imbedded patterns of behavior from experiences in life.  Thus, we develop “triggers.”  We, like the turkey, usually don’t recognize why the trigger is there, where it came from, or that we are even acting in response to it.  In other words our ”triggers” are not a part of instinct but are most often the product of experience.

For instance, why is it that when you are in a certain environment a specific kind of feeling comes over you or a very predictable pattern of behavior gets repeated in your life?   Someone acts toward you in a certain way and suddenly there is the predictable reaction.  That’s a trigger.  Sometimes these triggers can be positive in nature and helpful to others and ourselves.  But often they are negative.  They result in behavior that is destructive, demeaning, and dysfunctional.  The results are never good.  The trigger gets pulled, the hammer comes down, and the bullet leaves the barrel.  Destruction is the result.

The process of sanctification (to use a theological term), or transformation, becoming like Christ, is a process of identifying those triggers that are deeply imbedded in our flesh, understanding what events, wounds, and experiences created those triggers, and then allowing the “renewing of the mind” of Romans 12:2 and the “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” of 2 Corinthians 10:5 to bring change.  When the change is real the hammer comes down to a safety position and the trigger becomes ineffective.  That’s when real and lasting change happens.

Each of us have our triggers that are unique and our own.  So, let’s talk turkey.  What are your triggers?  What are you doing anything about them?


Single Post Navigation

2 thoughts on “TURKEY TALK

  1. Turkey triggers! That’s what those things are! And yes, I am accepting the truth I cannot battle those triggers on my own. I need God to walk with me daily. Thanks, James, for giving those ‘triggers’ a name.

  2. Susan Mandelin on said:

    Yet another part of my life I’m working on… triggers. Every time I think I’m good, I discover another one. But that’s part of healing, right?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: