Growing up on a livestock farm gives farm kids a unique look at the life cycle. I grew up on a hog farm and my parents still have cattle today. From conception to death, my sister, brother and I saw it all and saw it at a very young age. I don’t remember any of this being explained in the context of God or religion, however. Instead, this is just what happened on the farm, and our place in the cycle was that of caretaker.
After dinner many nights, we’d follow Dad out to the hog lots where he would let the boars in with the sows and spend time helping breed. Three months, three weeks and three days later we were moving sows into the farrowing house and watching beautiful new piglets enter the world.
Similarly, every June 1, we’d load up the bulls and take them to pasture with the cows. The next spring, new calves tottered around the green grass.
So, it shouldn’t have come as any surprise that a farm kid would assume that all kids understood the life cycle. When my sister and I were very young, we’d attend mass at the Catholic church and then Sunday School at the small country Lee Center church. It was a compromise, I think, to honor the places of faith of both parents.
On this particular Sunday, the lesson was Noah’s Ark and I still remember the song we sang. “The animals, they came on, they came on by twosies, twosies. . .”
I do not recall feeling the need to explain why a ‘mommy’ and a ‘daddy’ from each species boarded the Ark, but evidently I did. My mom says, she has never been so embarrassed as the teacher related my explanation and asked if maybe she could help temper my enthusiasm to share or at least couch it in the context of the Bible.
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