I just read the article Students Are Udderly Amazed by Visiting Dairy Cow and Calf as presented in our local paper, the Cupertino Courier.
While you may not see the humor in it, I pretty much laughed my way through the entire article. I imagined this same scene playing out in my hometown in Minnesota.
“Okay kids, a cow is going to come visit our school. Let’s all line-up outside because I know how eager you are to see it.” I can already hear the complaints and groans by children who already had to milk their own cows before coming to school.
I also imagined a rural Minnesotan child (or even a North/South Dakotan or Iowan child for that matter), upon seeing the cow, exclaiming, “It’s just like we’re on a farm!” That kid would immediately get punched and shunned because he is obviously “city folk” and “don’t fit in ’round these here parts.” Although, he would have already been pegged a city kid before this incident because of the way he wore his boots on the outside of his pants.
The best part of the article was at the end when the educators thought that, because the kids saw a cow, they might be enouraged to major in agriculture and become world leaders in food production. Who knows, maybe some of them will. But, I just imagine them going to college with all the other kids who grew up on a farm. The city kid would probably be instantly frustrated by the insane amounts of grunt work associated with keeping animals, as well as the bizarre problems that occur on a farm like old Bessie going down to the neighbor’s house again or ‘dem varmits eatin’ all ‘da veggies from ‘da garden. I’m sure they’d learn about it all in a sterile, academic environment. But, quite frankly, I’d rather have the academic child who actually grew up on a farm running the world food production. Not the city kid who saw a cow in elementary school and felt forever inspired.
Why don’t schools consider having, I don’t know, small farms within the district that the kids help run? Or gardens that they manage? I don’t think showing them a cow, watching movies, and reading from textbooks is going to adequately prepare them for any real understanding of agriculture. Then again, I’m a proponent of learning by doing. Oh well, maybe showing them a cow is a good start. It’s just hilarious to a former farm girl like me.