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I’ve always been of the opinion that animals are a valuable part of my existence. They provide companionship, teach children about life, death, responsibility, they give us food, they give us resources (I still have wool left to spin!) and they’re great sources of entertainment and laughter.

They’re also a wonderful at teaching compassion.

We had some teenage boys out a few weeks ago and it’s always interesting to observe how people behave around animals. The boys all stood in awe of the horses and were quick to take a step back as soon as Stoney flicked his tail. Because of his sheer size, Stoney commanded respect. They played with our friendly dog and scratched the cats behind the ears because most of them had experience with their own dogs and cats. When it came to the roosters, though, some of the boys saw them as smaller, as lesser. An old soccer ball was found, kicked around and eventually aimed at the chickens. They scattered and clucked frightenedly which only made some of the boys laugh and repeat the torment. It wasn’t until I asked them to stop and see that they were scaring our flustered poultry that they took a step back and realized their entertainment wasn’t worth the suffering of another creature.

Raiding the compost pile.

Compassion and kindness translates across age, gender, culture and species. For this lesson, no harm done (the roosters are still just as friendly and thankfully haven’t turned bitter and tried spurring. Yet) and there are a few more young men in the world who are a bit more kind.

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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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