During calving season, we are always watchful. Although most of our cows are all seasoned pros (some too seasoned, as one is 13 years old!), problems still may arise during the birthing process. A calf may be too big, or turned wrong, or a heifer (first time mama) may not tap into her natural instinct and take care of that little wet thing she suddenly finds laying on the ground next to her.
The first calf born this season was born to a mama that had already calved 3 other times. I consider her a pro, so there shouldn’t have been any problems. And there wasn’t when she had the calf, but later, as The Farmer watched, he noticed that the calf was still in the same place where it had been born and that mama was too far away for safety’s sake. Upon further investigation, the cow just didn’t seem to be responsible at all. In fact, another cow was watching over her baby closer than she was. When the calf would get up to nurse, the cow seemed impatient and uncaring, walking away and kicking at her baby to get him to stop. Fortunately, he was very persistent and seems to be doing well now.
In the short video below, The Farmer is tagging the calf. Usually, he is looking over his shoulder hoping not to get mauled by an overprotective “mama bear”. However, even after her precious bundle of joy runs across the fence into the neighbor’s woods, this unconcerned mama is more interested with chewing her cud than keeping watch over her helpless newborn.
After waiting around until almost dark to see if mama assumes her responsibility, The Farmer finally decided to intervene. He crossed the fence and began “mawing” like a baby calf (he’s quite good at “maw” calls). Finally, mama’s interest awakened enough for her to investigate. She came to the “rescue” about the time The Farmer coaxed the calf close enough to the fence that he poked his head through. Mama and baby were reunited and walked away without so much as a “howdy-do” or a “thank you” to The Farmer.
As I watched this unfold, I thought about human moms in general (I always compare cow mamas to human mamas, you wouldn’t believe how much we are alike) 🙂 This was a sad comparison, though. I thought about how some mamas have children and then seem too eager to abandon them. Having a baby is easy (I should know), but the endeavor of the day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, year-to-year labor of raising children is the most important part of parenting.
When I saw the cow look up from her grazing and ignore the situation until the calf crossed the fence I grumbled, “It’s too late to care, now”. Nonetheless, that’s how some parents are. They allow their children to run, to make their own decisions, to watch out for themselves, while they are busy with work, or play, or whatever takes them away from their job of being the adult authority figure, and only show interest when they’re child crosses the line–gets into trouble, leaves home, or causes embarrassment to the parent.
If God has allowed you to be a parent, then be a parent. Be vigilant, watchful, alert when it comes to your children. Guard them against danger, difficulties, and error. Don’t ignore them until they cross over the fence and someone else has to chase them back. If you have had a child placed into your custody, then be a PARENT.
Protect them from being harmed or damaged (physically and emotionally)
Arm them with the tools they need to succeed
Require them to be responsible
Earn their respect by being a good role model
Notice them; they need your time and attention on a daily basis
Transfer them to their own life (allow them to move away) when you have finished raising them, by preparing them along the way