I’ve been feeling a lot of peer pressure lately … from chickens.
I don’t mean people with cowardly dispositions. No, I mean real, live chickens. It seems everyone I know in the world either has chickens or is getting chickens. Having chickens has apparently become the staple of being a family in tune with God. If you don’t have chickens, you might survive the apocalypse, but you’ll certainly be enslaved and then forced to eat the genetically-altered eggs of whatever type of chicken hybrid Those Who Sit In Power have developed by that time.
Yes, you must have some chickens. Only one problem: I don’t particularly like chickens.
I don’t know where exactly this dislike comes from. It could be from stories my mom used to tell about how her grandmother’s chickens would chase her around the yard. Or it could be because I’m not particularly fond of shifty, jerky animals (Have you ever seen a chicken walk?). Or it could just be that I’ve never owned any chickens before and am fairly certain they will eventually die because of my inexperience with poultry.
Whatever the case may be, I’ve just never particularly wanted any chickens. Lately, though, I’ve been feeling like I need some chickens. There are actually a few logical reasons for this. Eggs without any of the chemical alterations that can occur in store-bought eggs are what I’d rather be eating. After years of running away from “farm life” and taking care of animals, I’m beginning to see the need for using animals as a means to develop self-sustainability. And, probably first and foremost, I want to give my children some type of daily responsibility that will require them to learn the value of true work.
Still, the thought of raising a bunch of chickens on my property just doesn’t excite me all that much. I really couldn’t figure this out until a couple of days ago. I mean, this was something I needed to do. Everyone around me was telling me so. It’s just like the fact that I need to learn how to change my own oil, plant my own garden, build my own house, and start my own business. This is the right thing to do.
There was only one small problem, though: All the convictions I had about becoming an amateur chicken farmer weren’t coming from me. They were coming from outside.
I am not a very handy guy around the house. I have the unique ability to turn normal, household projects into monumental, faith-shaking, epic events – with incredibly unsuccessful results. I also don’t really have the budget right now to invest in all the extra materials I’ll eventually need after screwing up the project the first five times I try it. I really hate this about myself. I’m a man; I’m supposed to be able to fix stuff. For reasons I can’t seem to understand, though, being “handy” is just not one of the attributes I was blessed with.
What I’ve had to do as a result is learn to step back and ask for help. It’s pretty humiliating, actually, but it’s just something I’ve had to do. The other thing I’ve had to do is accept my limitations. If I’m not ever going to be the next Bob Villa, so be it. It’s not that I can’t keep trying, but if I don’t advance as quickly as my other guy friends who are constructing their dream homes with their own two hands I’ve got to accept that’s who I am.
And that’s the point I’ve gotten to with this whole chicken thing. If I get a flock (or a herd or school or whatever you call them) of chickens, I want it to be because God has impressed upon me that I need to get some chickens, not because all the other families around me have made that a definition of manhood and legitimacy. And if I never own a single chicken, so be it. I’m tired of having my life defined by the expectations of those around me. I want to learn how to do all those things I listed earlier, but if I never, ever get a single on of them right and realize it’s better for me just to hire somebody else, then that’s just the road I’ll have to walk.
On an unrelated note, a friend of mine pointed out to me the other day that it’s been nearly two months since I’d written about anything. Since the whole point of this blog is to get me to write more, I’d have to say I’m not doing too well at the moment. Hopefully (for my sake, at least), that will begin to change.