I remember when I was small, my mom told me a story about how my grandfather (my mom's dad) used to look after cattle in his village when he was a kid. One time, he was trying to ride one of the animals which happened to be ill-tempered, and he was thrown to the ground and got hurt quite badly. But he recovered and went on to live a pretty interesting and productive life. (He raised a big family of 13!)
In many cultures, children are often tasked with taking care of domestic animals in their family. Although they usually do it out of necessity as their way of life, I think in some way, it can also be a blessing. Spending time with animals in the outdoors surely beats spending hours playing video games in front of a computer.
Just look at the faces of these young herdsmen in the following picture. I met them when I was taking a walk in a Masai village in Kenya. They may not have the latest video games and electronic toys, but they sure look happy.
On a side note, the herd that these kids were tending looked quite skinny to me. I'm not sure why. Although the place looked a bit dry, I could still see grass and vegetation around. Maybe the grass isn't the right type for grazing.
As for me, I grew up in a concrete jungle (Hong Kong, to be exact, which is one of the most densely populated cities in the world). Fortunately, my dad loves the outdoors and he provided a lot of opportunities for me to be exposed to nature, so I didn't grow up as a bookworm. I never had the experience of tending cattle, but my childhood is filled with exciting fishing, hiking, and camping trips that got me deeply in love with nature. That's a blessing for which I will be eternally grateful.
What about your childhood? Do you have a lot of fond memories filled with animals and adventures in nature?