Teachers all around if we’ll just notice

BY BOB WACHS, News + Record Staff
Posted 10/18/19

Education takes many forms.

There’s the formal type, the now K-12 public or private school version. Shoot, there’s even Pre-K. Sometimes, I’m still a bit amazed that my 3-year old princess …

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Teachers all around if we’ll just notice

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Education takes many forms.

There’s the formal type, the now K-12 public or private school version. Shoot, there’s even Pre-K. Sometimes, I’m still a bit amazed that my 3-year old princess (one of five female grands in our world) goes three days a week to such an event. She’s learning stuff, even counted to 40 or 60 or someplace the other day, although she declared one number was 2010. Sometimes it makes me wonder how my generation and older ones got along without pre-K.

The education received in formal settings usually consists of facts and information, things like when was the War of 1812 and what direction is South Dakota from North Dakota. An extra added attraction of school, however, can be interactive, as in learning how to move through social settings and being around other folks.

Then there’s the other version, the kind you get at home and, hopefully, in church. We’ve got to assume (always a dangerous thing to do; you know what happens when you assume) and hope and pray that such education is positive. Unfortunately, all too often, some of the education there can be a lesson in what not to do. But still, it counts as learning. But remember this, school wasn’t created to take the place of church or home.

Then there’s life, or maybe more accurately the school of life. Through the years, I’ve encountered many folks who say or show they’re graduates of that school. Others point out by word or deed they’re still studying in it. Funny thing about life as a teacher, though: she gives the test first and then the lesson.

And then there’s one more school. It’s kind of like some of the others and maybe is really the school of life, just in a different form. Namely, it’s the things of life, things we can learn from life to use in our lives. Mother Nature is her name, this teacher, and she shows us many things about life.

Some things we notice but, as supposedly a higher form of civilization, we shouldn’t use. For instance, there’s a valuable lesson about power and pecking order around our place from the cows and the chickens. When it comes time to hit the water trough, there’s a definite order if everyone is present.

I’ve seen smaller cows and calves helping themselves to a long drink of water on a long hot day when all of a sudden, a bigger version of themselves comes along and...BOOM! Outta my way!...and the little guys slink away. If they haven’t finished quenching their thirst, they usually don’t leave right away but instead hang out over to the side or in back until Bully or Boss Cow is done. Sometimes the bigger version, even after filling up, will stand there, almost daring someone else to come up until, finally bored with the entire process, off they go.

At times, it almost looks like the big guys cast a wicked glance in the direction of their victims, sort of a sneer or mean laugh. On other occasions, the smaller version has given up and left, assuring the tormentor of success in his or her venture. Same with the chickens. Obviously neither species has heard of or gotten the memo about the Golden Rule. In spite of what some people think, the Golden Rule still is “Do to others like you’d like done to you” and not, “He who has the gold makes the rule.”

On the flip side, another of Mother Nature’s critters offers a lesson on how to do things right. I speak here of geese, particularly the Canadian variety that fly over our place quite often.

For the sake of true transparency, let me note I don’t really care for them. They eat grass — lots of it — that could better be consumed by the cows while at the same time, their bathroom habits, while true to nature, can have some long-lasting effects. I don’t claim to be an expert in any of this but I have been told that repeated use by geese of pasture grass for their digestive deposits can have an effect on mama cows, namely contributing to them becoming sterile.

Anyway, after having said all that, the geese provide while in flight a valuable human nature lesson.

First of all, they fly together in a formation, namely the “V.” They’re not all over the place, each one doing his or her thing. That “V” is a streamlined fashion, contributing to less turbulence and resistance along the way. Then, while the leader is out front charting the way, the other geese behind are honking encouragement, urging Lead Goose onward and upward. And finally, after a while, one in the back will rotate to the point and give the leader a break as they continue on. That means the effort is going on and they don’t care who’s in charge. And the former leader? He’s now in back, honking encouragement.

Amazing isn’t it, what can be done as long as we don’t care who gets the credit?

Pay attention, people.


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