When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. This popular saying is basically advising you to make the best of the negative situations in life. If you end up with something sour, like a lemon, try your best to find the deeper sweetness. This quote can be much easier said than done, however. Learn how to adopt a more optimistic attitude in the face of adversity.
It is election time in Zambia and one of the front runners for the Presidency is a man that comes from a community that keeps cows. This in turn is being used to ridicule him. But alas! I have found many good lessons out of keeping cows.
Growing up keeping cows (N’gombe) teaches you a lot about life. There are so many life lessons that you can learn working with animals on a farm. These life lessons become relevant and helpful in later life. The cows in particular are great teachers. They can teach you how to be a better person. I’ve personally learned a lot working with them. So what can you learn from cows anyways? Here are some important life lessons that I have learned in my time working with the cows and I think HH being called a Cow keeper has learnt the same and may apply them when leading the nation of Zambia:
1. Cattle Keepers have Mercy for Animals! Cattle keepers give Animals the Best Care Possible. Consequently, they have mercy for other people. Sometimes as a cattle farmer I am very distraught by the things people say about the dairy industry. We treat animals with respect and give them the best care possible. We depend on them for our livelihood, just as our animals depend on us. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. That’s why it’s hard to listen to people bash us and our industry by saying negative things; condemning us for inhumane treatment of animals while the complete opposite is true.
Lesson: A Cattle keeping leader will have mercy for the nation he leads. He will provide the best care possible to the nation.
2. Dairymen are motivated to treat the baby calves on the dairy humanely because they are the next generation for the farm. “Imiti ikukula empanga”. Just like you want the best for your children, we want the best for our calves. We treat them well because happy cows really do produce the best milk.
Lesson: A Cattle keeping Leader will take care of the children and youths. He will keep them in a kraal “Chimpati” till they are mature. He will keep children in school till they are ready for life. Education and health will be availed to children and youths.
3. When you love Cows, they will love you back. Consequently, when you love others, they will love you back. Take care of the cows and they will take care of you: When you’re taking care of the cows, you quickly discover that having a vigilant focus on your cows comfort and well-being is the key to successful cattle farm. Healthy, happy cows give more milk, and lead far more productive lives than cows that aren’t treated well. It’s been scientifically proven that cows with more love in their life will outperform any cows that aren’t being treated well.
Lesson: A Cattle keeping Leader will love his people and in turn, they will learn to love him back. He is simply lovable not by force but by his works. What he does just makes you love him back. It all you can do and give.
4. Adopt an attitude of patience. One of the biggest lessons you learn working with cows is patience. Cows by nature are very calm gentle animals. They don’t get super hyper, but instead just mosey though life at a steady, constant pace. Being that they weigh 680 kgs on average, they have the right to do whatever they like. Working with them is a good lesson in patience.
Lesson: A Cattle keeping Leader will be patient with his subjects. Patience builds confidence and brings the wayward back to the fold.
5. If you’re being rude, you’re going to be kicked. If you’re acting crazy, being obnoxious, or sneaking up abruptly on the cows you are going to be kicked. There are no ifs ands or buts about it; “Muchende – poho” is going to give you a good strong kick if you are rude to animals. Hooves don’t feel good, but they do knock some sense into you. It teaches you that being callous, or insensitive to those around you will ultimately end up coming back to you in a negative way. Better to be thoughtful, and understanding when your around others. The “Mapatizya formula” – has its roots from Ngombe lessons.
Lesson: A Cattle keeping Leader will not hesitate to discipline the wayward when they are wrong. Though patient, there are lines that must not be crossed.
6. Sometimes pushing is useless, you need to lead. When you’re trying to herd the cows, sometimes trying to push them is pointless. The cows would rather explore, or try to gather around you. Pushing them in this kind of a situation is very difficult. But a better way is just to lead them. Lead and they will follow. This kind of attitude can also apply in life. Don’t push; lead. “Kachema” will not insult back, he will just lead by example and we will all follow!
Lesson: A Cattle Keeping Leader will not hesitate to fold his sleeves and show the way. He cannot stay up in the ivory tower, but is willing to get his hands dirty.
7. Go slow to go fast. This is something that people with little experience working with cows find difficult to understand. You can actually get your job done faster by going slower. Rushing around trying to go fast is not how cows operate, but instead they like slow and steady movement to rushed hasty ones. Being slow and gentle keeps the cows calm and relaxed. It seems contrary right, but if you go slow and are gentle, the cows cooperate like champions. This obviously makes your job much more relaxing and enjoyable. This kind of attitude can make life in general better. Stop rushing around, you’re only stressing yourself out. Slow down and enjoy life where you’re at. It will go by fast enough.
Lesson: A Cattle keeping Leader will get the job done slowly but sure. Just be patient and everything will fall in place.
In Summary: f you could sum up the general philosophy of life lessons from cows, it would probably be to slow down and adopt a carefree attitude. In our culture today, there is this huge emphasis on doing things, filling up your calendar and going a million miles a minute. Maybe we should be more like cows. Perhaps we should adopt the general attitude of a cow. Slow down, be gentle, relax, and enjoy life more.
Probably one of the most important lessons from the cows though, would be to make sure your giving love to those around you. While we don’t feed people like cows do, there is definitely something every one of us can do to show love to others.
God bless Zambia and God bless kachema wa N’gombe.