Growing up on a farm meant the kids had a realistic view of life and death. They also grew up knowing and appreciating what it takes for food to ‘magically’ appear on the shelves at the grocery store. Zach and Elizabeth basically had a matter-of-fact attitude about it all, but when it came time for our tender-hearted and wee-bit dramatic Olivia to be old enough to understand that some of the animals on our farm ended up in our freezer and on the table, we weren’t sure just how understanding she would be.
Thankfully she was very mature and very Olivia about the whole thing…
Three year-old Olivia raised Albert the little bull calf on a bottle. She’d even shown him in the fair a few weeks after he was born. But when Albert was a little over a year old, it was time for him to fulfill his purpose in being on the farm. It was time to butcher Albert.
Since Albert had grown far too big for Olivia to care for, she really didn’t seem to be bothered with the fact that he was no longer there. But the first night I fixed hamburgers for dinner (courtesy of Albert), we had a split-second of panic that bothered might not even begin to cover it.
Olivia knew that John had picked up our meat earlier that day so when she took a bite of her hamburger, before she started chewing, she asked, “Is this Albert?”
John and I exchanged glances and then calmly, but unapologetically, John said, “Yes, Olivia, it is.”
Olivia very thoughtfully and deliberately chewed and swallowed what was in her mouth, smiled really big, and said, “Well, he tastes pretty good, don’t he!”
NOTE: Collective sigh could be heard around the table.
At the ripe old age of four Olivia understood that everyone and everything has a purpose and that we should do our best to do just that.
As parents we have a responsibility to love and nurture our children in such a way that they can fulfill their purpose in life—the purpose of growing into loving, capable, and honorable adults.
Oh, there will be many stops along the way; experiencing childhood, puberty, first-love, a disease called I-know-it-all-you-know-nothing, and waking up to find themselves in the real world. But by keeping them focused and pointed in the right direction, they’ll make it. And when they do, you’ll thoughtfully and deliberately watch them and say to yourself or anyone who happens to be around…
“He (or she) does real good, don’t he?”
Copyright 2016 Darla Noble. No part of this can be copied or used without permission from the author.