We recently lost a newborn piglet despite all of the pampering from the kids. If it could have been loved back to life, it would be the healthiest animal on the place, but that was not its purpose. Although sad, this is not that uncommon on a farm. The kids have experienced nursing numerous animals that still end up dying. So, why do we continue to help our animals? Why do we show empathy and love knowing the probability of life is low?
This, as odd as it seems, is one of the blessings our children experience on our farm. Not that we aren’t sad, but we are blessed for the opportunity to teach our children about grief and death. That seems heavy and macabre, but, unfortunately, because of our sin, death is a part of our life on earth.
In allowing the children to help nurse these animals, they are allowed to learn empathy. They learn how to show love when someone is struggling. Hopefully, they will also learn how to think of others’ needs instead of their own, because showing love to something that you are fairly certain will soon be gone is ultimate sacrifice. You have to deny your own emotion to think of someone else’s need.
As adults helping our children, we are forced to embrace our own mortality. We are forced to live a full life knowing that God gives us each opportunity we face daily, and when those opportunities are complete, so is our journey on earth. We have opportunities to show Him and His love to the people around us OR selfishness and narcissism. We have opportunities to (1) take care of others and embrace something bigger than us by trusting an all-knowing and loving God that embraces us despite of our sin, OR (2) we can pass on our fears including death.
We hope and pray, as their parents, that we are able to be that example for them daily and pass on these acts of love, not selfishness, to their peers and the next generation.