How could a mother have no instincts?

What would you think about a mother who failed to protect her newborn child 99% of the time? Would you even call her a mother? This title brings with it the connotation of protection, care, and intuition – but what if a mother has never experienced these traits in her own life? Do instincts appear out of nowhere?

Tim Young, author of The Accidental Farmers and co-founder with his wife Liz of Nature’s Harmony Farm in Elberton, GA asks himself this after a Berkshire sow lost all ten piglets in the flood of 2009.  In fact, his Berkshire sows failed to protect their newborns 99% of the time.  Farmers had protected the Berkshire pigs from reality for so long that survival instincts had been generationally removed.

Tim gave up on the Berkshire hogs.   Instead, he chose to raise the Ossabaw Island sows, only one generation removed from roaming wild on the barrier island off the coast of Georgia.    These mothers  did not lose a single piglet in the same flood mentioned above.  As Tim describes in his book, it is much easier to make the animals fit your lifestyle than fit your lifestyle to animals.  It is hard work getting up every day to create a natural environment for your animals so they constantly have fresh earth to roam, feed and raise their young.   It is much simpler pumping animals full of antibiotics, forcing them to live in air conditioned buildings, feeding them on a regular schedule and raising their young for them to avoid natural selection.

The attempt to standardize everything is apparently becoming the habit of the 21st century and financial planners have been quick to join the parade.   Without fail, when I’m on a plane and the person next to me learns I work in financial services, the question and the look is always the same. What should I invest in? What do you think the market is going to do? Financial planning has taught people that they need answers to questions that have no answers. Such an approach creates weakness, not strength. The only certainty in life is uncertainty. The underlying assumptions in financial planning are markets always go up, bonds are not risky, buying a home is smart, saving for college is a good idea, governments are stable, and hiring a financial planner will mean a happy retirement.    As a result many of us have become the Berkshire sow.  As long as we stay indoors (and a tornado does not rip the roof off) we are fine.

Those that lead a successful life are constantly foraging for opportunity and always on the lookout for danger.   These are natural instincts that develop from the experience of life outdoors.   Develop your instincts and you won’t become the Berkshire hog.

The link to Nature’s Harmony The cheese is really special.

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