When I was a kid, my family lived on a small farm (super small, like two acres). We had chickens, a cow, the occasional horse or two, pigs, sheep, and an assortment of rabbits and other critters. I might not have fully appreciated living on a farm at the time, but now I think every kid should spend serious chunks of time on a farm.
My poor brother had the job of milking our cow, Daisy, which he hated beyond belief. My poor brother has always been an aesthetic, so the horribly mundane chore of wrestling with a cow that doesn’t want to be milked by some skinny kid who doesn’t want to be doing the milking offended his sensibilities. 🙂
I hated beyond belief washing out the huge metal thingamajig that we stored the milk in. The cream rose to the top of the milk and smelled SO strongly of, well, cream! There would be a piece of grass or other sorts of detritis in the milk that had to be strained out. I often felt like my nasal passages were coated with milk and cream, the fragrance was so strong.
So, sadly, neither my brother nor I appreciated fresh milk or cream. And the worst part of cream was the knowledge that we’d have to make butter. We used the “peanut butter jar” method: shaking a jar filled with cream until our arms wanted to fall off. It’s a solid method of creating butter and keeping your kids busy and out of trouble at the same time. None of us kids appreciated fresh butter.
I think about this now with a big sigh. Fresh milk! Fresh cream! Fresh butter! Oh my, the wonderful dishes I could create! The amazing things I could bake! And fresh baked bread with freshly churned butter? Heaven. Utter heaven.
If there’s one lesson I’ve learned thus far, it’s this: perspective changes over time. I hated the whole milk experience as a kid. Now I’d love to have fresh cream and butter every day (my hips are glad that I don’t have this luxury!). I’d love to feed my own cow grass and hay, rather than corn, free from hormones, antibiotics, genetic modification, etc.
Perspective changes with every new experience. Many kids dislike eating vegetables, but can’t get enough of them as adults.
Perspective changes with empathy. If you can feel what another person has experienced, your perspective has to alter.
Perspective changes when you think beyond your narrow focus. Think on a regional or national or global or universal level and you can’t help but change your perspective.
Our country is celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden this week. I can’t stop wondering what history’s perspective will say. How will I – and others – feel about this next year? Ten years from now? 20?
I don’t know how I feel about this yet. I will be honest with you: I find it difficult to celebrate a death, even if I feel it’s deserved. However, I look forward to the new perspective that we’ll all gain over time.