When I was a little girl I lived on a farm. We had many animals, including cows, and I even had my own adorable calf. While my daddy milked the cows, I pretended I was their teacher. I scolded the cows for not paying attention, and for chewing gum in school. Of course, I didn’t know then that they were doing what God had designed them to do: Chewing their cuds.
I would teach the cows their numbers: 1-2-3-4 teats, 1-2 ears, 1 mouth, 1-2-3-4 legs, 1-2-3-4 black spots. I was very serious, but the cows just stood and stared at me (chewing their gum) with their big brown eyes. Afterwords I would tell the cows to study hard and to do their homework. Well, that’s what teachers do, right?
In the summer when they left the barn to go out to the pasture, I would tell them to behave out on the playground. Sometimes I would go out and sit on a rock in the pasture, pretending I was the playground supervisor.
All of the cows had names, of course. My father said they would give more milk if they were relaxed and if we talked nicely to them and petted them, so I did my part by going to their stanchions and petting their faces. I’m sure it helped.
Sometimes the cows would say moo, moo. When they did, I would tell them they shouldn’t talk without raising their hand first. I should have told them to swish their tail when they wanted to speak. How could a cow possibly raise her hand? It made sense to me at the time, but it seems silly now. Of course, many silly things make sense when you’re only five years old.
When I look back on that part of my childhood, I can honestly say it was great fun playing school in the barn. Our cows were the smartest, most highly educated in the whole county, and probably the whole state of New York. When I was little I used to dream I would grow up to be a teacher. It took rather longer than I expected, but I did end up teaching. My favorite job ever was teaching at the major Bible College in Papua New Guinea, and I teach all the time now as I travel around speaking. My oldest daughter caught the teaching bug as a little girl, too. How about you?