We can learn a lot from watching others.
And not just people.
We can learn a lot by watching animals too.
My wife and I raise beef cattle.
We have a small sixty-eight acre property an hour and three quarters southwest of Sydney where we spend our weekends and our Christmas vacations.
It’s a lovely place to get away from it all.
Although we send the cattle we raise off to market, we have four “pets” that have been pretty well with us for the four years that we’ve been living on the land.
These four are the chosen ones. They are never destined to finish up on a dinner plate.
It’s the nature, and the behaviours of these four pets that has really made our time on the land so enjoyable.
So let me tell you about our four bovine friends we have.
They hang around together. Spend all their time together.
And are great friends to us, and to each other.
[And they each love to eat sliced bread!]
Firstly there’s Jack.
He’s in charge. He bosses the other three around and he pushes them around too.
The other three know that Jack is the boss. And they respect his leadership.
Then there’s Mr. Angus.
He’s the quiet one of the four.
He rarely speaks up, and never ever pushes his weight around.
He’s very polite in his nature, and will wait his turn to get involved in anything, despite the fact that that often means he goes last..
Thirdly there’s Mr. Spongey. Also known as “The Sponge”.
He’s a lover.
He’s got a very laissez-faire approach to life. Take it or leave it.
He gets involved when he wants and never feels like he has missed out at all.
And he’s so affectionate… yes, he loves a pat and a stroke.
Jack doesn’t seem to push Mr. Spongey around so much, for some reason.
And lastly there’s Mr. Courage.
He wants to be as tough as Jack, but Jack has it over him. Mr. Courage is really a softy, like “The Sponge”, but he tries it on some times.
When Mr. Courage and Jack are together, you know who is #1 and who is #2, that’s for sure.
When I watch these four guys, I often marvel at what I learn from their behaviours.
Despite the fact that he waits his turn, Mr. Angus never misses out.
This only goes to show that you don’t need to be first at everything to get what you need.
Angus’s attitude is one of abundance. He knows there’s no need to be greedy, or be a bully.
Mr. Sponge, like I said, is a lover. He loves a pat, and responds so well to affectionate talk.
As humans don’t we all just like some affection?
And when we give it, we get it back?
In life, we all have to deal with different types of people.
They have their pluses and their minuses.
When we deal with them we just have to adapt to their natures.
It’s the same with these four boys. Each has a nature of his own, but each gives back to us in so many ways.
Last Sunday morning, after feeding three of the boys some bread, I went searching for “The Sponge”, who often will sit out on the bread.
When I found him, he was lying on his side, awkwardly, by a gate.
It was obvious to me that he had just passed away.
He looked at peace.
Watching the other three then come and visit him was a sight to see.
It was very dignified.
Mark Twain said:
“The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.”
I feel the same about my cattle.
We like our cattle a real lot.
And we’re going to miss our lover boy.
R.I.P. Mr. Spongey. Thanks for the lessons.
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