The Chicken Principle: Part 1 of 3 (unless I think of more)

As you know, we have 17 chickens. They lay eggs every day. Their entire lives revolve around laying those eggs: they eat, sleep, and socialize so that they can lay eggs.

For the most part, they lay eggs in nesting boxes. We never had to teach or train them to do this. They just knew: “There is a plastic bucket attached to the wall. I will lay an egg in it.” Brilliance. Every once in a while, we’ll find an egg in the middle of the stall or under the roost, as if they just couldn’t hold that egg in one moment longer. It’s as if they were just going about their day, when it plopped out – the wrong time, and the wrong place – but an egg, nonetheless. They were created to produce eggs, and they do it!

Anyway, this got me thinking about how each of us is made to produce something unique. (My deepest apologies that I can’t come up with something more elevated than egg-laying, but it’s what I’ve got. And you’ll get the point as long as you work with me here.) “The Chicken Principle” is the thing we do so naturally that we almost can’t help but do it. It’s the thing that just plops out when we’re going about our daily tasks. It might be design, counsel, music, dreams, organization, html, or any other thing.   For me, it’s teaching. It just runs in my blood. I teach here, I teach there, I teach everywhere. I eat, sleep, and socialize so that I can teach. That’s why I homeschool, write, lead Bible studies, and say “yes” to speaking opportunities… because I love to teach. Of course, like those eggs, there is a proper time and place to do the deed, but it’s so natural to my personality that if I talk to you for more than 10 minutes, chances are that I’m going to start teaching, even if I didn’t mean to. Of course, teaching is still hard work for me (just like laying an egg is for a chicken, I imagine), but it’s natural to me and it fills me with vim and vigor. I love it.

Lately, I’ve noticed that most people have shut down their Chicken Principle because they don’t realize how great it is. Whatever-it-is that you produce is there for a reason. Don’t deny its productivity just because it comes naturally. That’s the whole point! It comes naturally so that you will do it! And learn how to do it well, and often. 

What’s your Chicken Principle?

“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” Psalm 90:17



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12 responses to “The Chicken Principle: Part 1 of 3 (unless I think of more)”

  1. Melanie Avatar

    This inspired me to think and do!!! Thank you!!!

  2. karen Avatar

    Girl, I am 46 and have yet to discover my chicken principle. I get it, I get everyone has a gift but this girl still doesn’t know hers. One day I will figure it out!!!

  3. Jenn Avatar

    Hmm, a chicken principle. I would like to say teaching, although it may be somewhat construed as “telling people what I think they should do” sometimes 🙂 I struggle to find a way to encourage people without coming across as though I know everything (because I certainly don’t!). But I do love to lead Bible studies, write, coach my speech team and share advice when asked 🙂

  4. Denise In Bloom Avatar

    I love this- I have definitely figured out my chicken principle and I love it. Mine is to be an encourager. I can’t NOT do it. It flows out in all I do.

    You are right that many people have shut down their chicken principle in their life.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Kristin Avatar

    GREAT POST!!! I have struggled and struggled with trying to find what my gift all this year(ummm all my life). Thank you! I am a teacher and encourager. You are right it just spills out. I find myself having to be careful with what I read because it will come out and I will teach it.

  6. Lori Avatar

    My husband and I just took a class on the chicken principle. Okay, it wasn’t called that 🙂 but it was helpful in pointing out some aspects of ourselves that we might have been unable (unwilling?) to realize were gifts that we can utilize. Now the challenge is that once identified, how do we use them??!! Still working on that, but I am a cheerleader… PS. love those chickens

  7. Sarah Avatar

    I am definitely a listener. I naturally become an observer around people. I love to soak in information, thoughts, and feelings, and I love deep conversations about life, God, etc. I also have a natural tendency towards problem solving. I love finding ways to do things quickly, efficiently, and correctly so I can spend time on what really matters. (I will admit, though, that I have learned to relax about the last one now that I have a 1 1/2 year old!) 🙂

  8. Amy Avatar

    I love this! And I feel like recently I keep running into this idea and message. Someone is trying to tell me something?! 🙂 I remember in 11th grade filling out a little 3×5 card for my favorite-ever English teacher. She asked a few questions of her students on the first day of class and one of them was “what makes you happy?” I wrote down my answer without hesitation but soon later worried it sounded unhealthy. My Chicken Principle is helping other people find their own happiness, whether enjoying a little moment or finding their own Chicken Principle. It’s not unhealthy if it’s done right and without forgetting myself. Thanks for this message, Laura!!

  9. Laura Avatar

    Ooo, I love hearing how varied our gifts are. Isn’t that interesting? The very thing that you feel so compelled to do might not even cross my mind once in a week’s time! Keep on pursuing these giftings that God has given you. I’m lovin’ it.

    (Psst: Amy… you were so right on that 3×5 card. I’ve reaped the benefits of your amazing abilities for years… I’m so grateful for you.)

  10. Jenni@MomEssentials Avatar

    Oooh, thanks for asking! I love the way you teach, with analogies and ideas that help me visualize better! I loved your articles on Like A Warm Cup of Coffee. They have helped me rethink my priorities and boundaries. Thank you for that!

    My Chicken Principle is empowering other people, moms & families in their healthcare. I teach about principles of health and using natural tools for healthcare. I believe we can resolve the majority of our health problems ourselves with some basic knowledge and understanding. I also love discussing healthy food and home education. Ever since a light clicked on for me about 12 years ago, I have been searching voraciously for truth and passionately sharing my knowledge with others. Now I have a blog that helps me fulfill my passions at MomEssentials.Net

    Thanks for letting me share my “Chicken Principle!”

  11. Praveen Rajarao Avatar

    Laura – I followed you here via your article on ProBlogger. That one was good regarding how to get the best returns on blogging.

    When I visited your site, this article stood out on your home page and I was fascinated by the term “Chicken Principle” and i really wanted to know more about it.

    Nice way of bringing this out in the open, I am sure most of us will have something to share about their “CP”. For me, I am still unsure of what that might be, but I loved to read all the comments out here.

  12. […] ruminated on The Chicken Principle {which states that we all do something – a passion -  that simply “falls out” of […]

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