You know how sometimes you learn more from the audience you think you are educating? Any of you been a public speaker? Facilitator? Teacher? If so, then you know what I am about to confess. Much like the days in the tropical rain forest of Papua New Guinea (north of the little pointy part of the island/continent that is Australia), when the Peace Corps office people asked us to “train” the next batch of volunteers, I learned how little I knew and how much wisdom the “new” people brought along with them. Case in point – our little office building got robbed once; almost $600 dollars was taken so we hired two guys as overnight watchmen. What ended up happening was we paid them to sleep on the property, next to a fire, and eat (yes, eat) freeze-dried coffee powder. They didn’t patrol, or walk around, or catch anybody (partly cuz everyone is related to everyone else there) or stop any other lawless mayhem from happening. When the “new” people took over for us, they took one look at THAT expense and said, “that’s gonna change”. After thinking about being offended by what they said, I thought to myself, ‘yeah, that is a stupid expense’.
So, anyway, change is a good thing, and a little humility never hurt anyone either.
Steve. Poor, maligned Steve. He can’t read, so he isn’t as damaged as he ought to be by my last post, but that’s a mercy. He had NO intention of causing an uprising or fomenting rebellion. He merely conducted his chicken business all that day, and in the course of his chickening, his hanklet fell off.
Fell off. He didn’t put it on the stick at all, let alone place it brazenly. (Angie told me that she put it there so we could find it later to re-attach it.) And now that I think about it, do animals do ANYTHING brazenly? Maybe not. Probably more of that elusive ‘personification’. You English majors may need to help me out here.
So, like occasionally (maybe MORE than occasionally) in my actual human parenting life, what I thought was my finest hour (in putting the hammer down on Steve’s rebellion) turned out to be pretty shaky ground. I do love to learn these lessons, but then again, humility? From a chicken? Who is barely a month old?
Here’s a cool thing. I go out around sunset and fill the feeder for their morning, check the water, spread a little bit of bird seed around. I believe this keeps them busy and engaged in the pre-dawn chill. They cheep at me, in what can ONLY be fond tones, thanking me for food and water – which in chicken, means love.