Lessons From the Farm

Sometimes people say I run a farm. Sometimes I feel like I run the circus. But with 4 hens, 3 baby chicks, 1 rambunctious doodle, a stray cat picked up along the way, and 2 aquariums, I do have a bit of a farm thing going on. I remind myself of the gentlemen farmers of the colonial period. All dressed up and fancy and hauling slop.

Lately, my animals have been teaching me things and I’d like to pass on this knowledge.

1. When your doodle starts growling and misbehaving, he is seeking attention. Stop and play for 5 minutes and the attention-seeking behavior settles down. This works for kids, too.IMG_4768 IMG_4769
2. If you really want to have fun, you have to let go. Winston will fetch a toy and bring it back to me. But then he doesn’t let go. He stands there with the toy dangling from his mouth waiting for me to play some more. I can’t… until he lets go. So let go, for goodness sake.IMG_5254 IMG_5253
3. Babies grow. And when they do, they need more room. Sometimes that means they need higher walls and bigger space, looser boundaries, or just boundaries that seem less restricting. But they are still babies and they still need protection and boundaries.IMG_5234
4. Baby chickens like to try their wings. So do children. Let them try… when the scary doodle isn’t breathing down their neck, in places and ways that ensure success and not danger.IMG_5243 IMG_5242 IMG_5241 IMG_5240 IMG_5239 IMG_5238
5. Grown-ups don’t like change. The grown hens are completely bent out of shape at the peepings they hear from the nearby pen. Given the opportunity, the big girls will chase after the babies and scare them thoroughly. Gentle, subtle change is better than a full-on meet and greet with the newbies.
6. Handle with care. All of them.
7. Cats and tween girls are very much alike. Aloof and independent most of the time, they come slinking out of their room for food and to have a need met. Like, when they need you to find a specific shirt or to have their water changed. But occasionally, they crave a little love and come wrapping themselves around your ankles. Rarely is the timing good for you. Usually you are in a rush yourself. But if you want to connect and build relationship, you better change your plans fast and stoop down for a pat, a snuggle, and a few kind words. In the blink of an eye, they change their mind and jump out of your arms and scurry back into the cover of their spot.IMG_4662
8. Most of the time, don’t expect too much from either the cat or the tween. Each has his/her own thing going on and will not be hurried, hassled, or otherwise bothered by anything you suggest or offer.IMG_4666 IMG_4665
9. Feed in the light. The fish can’t find the food in the dark (maybe they can, but they look so lost to me!). So turn on the light and then feed them. Feed the kids THE LIGHT… the one true Savior, God, Redeemer. Steer them ever toward THE LIGHT.
10. Take the time to watch and listen. They have things to teach us. And just stopping to watch or play or snuggle is good… really good… for your soul.
Okay, the doodle is pushing my arm with his nose. He’s getting upset, toddler that he is. It’s time to play. Adieu from the farm!

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