A cow may be ignorant, which is to say uninformed, but the animal is not stupid. If bales of hay are piled in the feeder, the cows will stop foraging for food and come running to feast on the handout. Little do they know that their benefactor has an ulterior motive for his charity.

A child may be ignorant, which is to say uninformed, but the child like the cow is not stupid. If the parent spoils the child, the child will not protest. In this situation, the parent’s motives are irrelevant in so far as the child is concerned.

So, what is the lesson be learned from these observations of the cow and the child? Well, there is more than one.

First, ignorance is not bliss. If you don’t know the potential consequences of what you are doing, you are at risk of stepping in a very large cow pie.

Second, nothing in life is free. If someone tells you otherwise, your antenna should go up. That person is either ignorant or lying.

Third, good intentions are not enough. Good ideas are essential

Fourth, bad intentions are always clothed in secrecy. Just ask the cow.

Fifth, if you like to eat fish, learn how to fish. If you prefer beef, trick a cow.

Sixth, if you are a parent, your primary responsibility is to teach your child to be independent. Love is essential, but it is not enough. If you truly love your child, you will not spare the rod and spoil the child.

Seventh, discipline and good habits are not learned by osmosis. They have to be taught, practiced and applied all throughout one’s life.

Eighth, the cow just needs to eat. She doesn’t much care how she looks or smells. Human beings also need to eat, but they need more than food to sustain themselves and grow to reach their full potential. They need to have a sense of purpose, of belonging to something bigger than themselves. They need to feel wanted, to feel needed, to feel loved and to give love in return. They need to feel good about themselves, look good, and not smell. To these ends, they need to work.

Ninth, whether cow or human, a little knowledge may be dangerous to your long-term health. Wisdom always comes at a price.

Tenth, if you think these lessons are worth putting into practice, you have just discovered the difference between ignorance, knowledge and wisdom.

On the other hand, if you believe this little life story is nothing more than a never-ending pile of cow pies, then you can content yourself by gorging on other people’s food stock at the government trough.

The author, a retired lawyer, is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame who earned his law degree at St. Louis University. He spent most of his career in the Peoria and Pekin areas and later practiced in Jo Daviess County from 2008 to 2013. His email address is johnab58@yahoo.com.

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