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Maternal Instincts – Ag in the Bible

May 11, 2014

Mom1988farmToday is a day that celebrates mothers. Gifts, cards, shopping, restaurants and a deluge of posts on conventional and social media.

It’s a day that those of us whose mothers are no longer here get minute by minute reminders, be it a month, a year or a decade or more since seeing her last.

Yesterday our little cardinals came out of the nest. The mama cardinal as well as the brightly colored male attentively called to their brood. Although there was plenty of cover, they are very small in a big ol’ world, much like the little wrens recently. From 30-40-50 feet away the fledgelings would be largely unnoticed except for the chirping and flurry of OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAactivity from the adult birds. From a further distance, to look at a forest or even a clump of trees, there’s just the tree, without seeing the life contained in it.

I think about many in the animal kingdom – from hormonal rabbits to mares to cows. My 4-H and FFA cow, Gumbeck, would become decidedly unfriendly in defense of her calf. When grabbing him to work on it was critical to have a stout fence between as when he bawled from being restrained or tattooed she would run us over and not been sorry if she’d had the chance.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASometimes it seems mothers don’t care. We’ve had rabbits that were not the most attentive but raise babies and tend to their needs. Others are what humans perceive as good mothers, acting concerned when we check the little ones. Both raise babies well, but often it’s easy for people to put human emotion onto actions that for animals is survival. Even when the youngsters are old enough to survive on their own, the mothers are tolerant as they bounce and climb on her more than snuggling.

Some say it’s demeaning to say animals don’t have emotions the same as people. Certainly there are those with maternal instincts to care for everything. I’ve had several border collies and an Anatolian Shepherd who couldn’t stand to here a baby anything cry – it didn’t matter if it was a goat, lamb, calf or child. Compassion or instinct?

Critics of agriculture often speak of not letting animals express maternal instincts, even those which can harm their offspring.

Consider for a moment, then, those who don’t meet the sentiments so often expressed on this day. The mothers who abort their babies as an inconvenience, or who mistreat their children either through lack of guidance or abuse choose their actions. Consider the mothers that kill their offspring.

With animals, many overlook those actions with a shrug. With people, it’s a news story forgotten about with the next big story. If we’re truly showing human compassion, shouldn’t we step up for those children?

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. (NIV)Prov. 14-1

As my social media feeds are filled with graduations and accomplishments, too many children never had a chance to even identify what their dreams were.

May there be more fostering, compassionate people step up before senseless deaths. May the horror decrease so it’s not common enough to be a suggested keyword. It’s true one doesn’t need to be blood related to have a positive effect. Step up. Make a difference. Don’t shrug and look the other way.

If a pitbull can foster a kitten and a cat can foster a squirrel baby can’t we look out for other human children? Shouldn’t we?

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