On the Farm, Patience is Not Only a Virtue, It is a Necessity

Husker Home Place

Grant me patience, but would you please hurry up!

Published on: October 15, 2013

A few years ago, I purchased 20 head of cows with three-month-old calves at their side. My cows were already turned out to pasture, so we drove directly to the pasture and dropped off the newly purchased critters with my herd. However, this pasture has a creek flowing through it, with two tributaries crossing it as well. Cows in that pasture need to know how to cross a creek with steep sides and a narrow, but relatively deep stream. When we dropped off the new cows and their calves, the cows crossed the creek immediately, and the calves were stuck, bawling on the other side.

When we tried to chase the calves across the creek, of course, they panicked and ran in the opposite direction, through several fences and into the corn field. After messing around with this situation for a half day, I was frustrated to the end of my wits. I worried that the calves would keep running and I would never find them or get them back again.

After expressing this frustration, my Dad told me something that he would repeat again and again over the years. “Keep your cool. Be patient. It will all work out. It always does,” he said.

The calves rumbled more than a mile, and Dad kept telling me that it would all work out. I could not see how I would ever recover these panicked calves. Finally, evening came along and I could hear the mother cows in the pasture calling for their calves. The calves bawled back over the distance. I listened to this all evening and into the night.

By morning, true to my Dad’s wise words, the calves had been led back into the pasture with their mothers. The mother cows crossed back over the creek and led their calves to the other side with them. Every single calf was accounted for. Things worked out.

So many times, situations on the farm look desperate. Things go wrong in a big way, and we are almost beside ourselves worrying about how things will turn out in the end. Yet, for all of our worrying and hurrying to fix things, many situations work themselves out and it only takes a little patience on our part to allow this to happen without panicking.

As my children get older, I find myself repeating my father’s words to them when things go wrong. “Keep your cool. Don’t worry. Be patient. Things will work out. They always do.”

Here is this week’s discussion question. “What advice did your father give you that you still remember and recite to your children?” Feel free to share your experiences and observations here.

Be sure to check out Nebraska Farmer online for all of your harvest time news. You can follow me at Husker Home Place on Twitter, and watch for my special Field Editor's Report blog the last Friday of every month about the families raising our food.