Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Teaching Children our Way of Life

One of the best things about farming is being able to work with your children. On the farm, we start 'em young, learning to work along side there parents. I am blessed to be able to teach my vocation to my boys at a very young age. Little John was riding the tractor with me when he was a few months old. I'd wrap him up in a sling, and we would head up the hill to spread manure. The noise of the deisel would lul him to sleep on the way home sometimes. Both boys have the chance to feed hay to the cows when they are in the barn. I few weeks ago John and Noah spent a couple of hours one morning feeding a cow baleage. One little arm full at a time, back and forth, up and down the manger they hauled hay until the job was done. They were proud of job they did. This is so important to little ones. I always try to find real jobs they can do. I very seldom make up "a job" for them. They can smell a fake job a mile away. They want to be like Dad. Yesterday John helped in the barn after breakfast. I found a fork with a broken handle for him to use, just the right size. He worked very hard and deliberately, cleaning the turds off the cow beds. Did a better job than some hiogh school kids I've hired! The most important thing to me was that he stuck out the job until it was finished. The day before I had to work on one of the tractors. A simple job that required nothing more than some wrench turning. Johnny did most of the job himself. I'll never forget the little guy standing there with his 1/4 inch ratchet, "Dad, thanks for sayin' I could help you. I can fix tractors now! I wanna tell Momma that I learned how fix tractors today." This from a 3 year old. Can you see why I don't mind working for peanuts? When I cut fire wood I always make sure to cut the skinny tops up. The boys always remind me to make sure I cut up "Johnny and Noah size peices". Then, when Mom and Dad are stacking wood, the boys can stack as well. It means so much to little ones to feel like they can do something of value. In many ways farming is as much "a way of life" as it is a business. When you grow up doing this kind of stuff, you don't really see at as "a job". What I mean is, I'd live like this no matter what. If I couldn't make a living with the farm, I'd still have cows and chickens. I'd still live like a backwoodsman. So, in alot of ways its like not having a job at all! I get to do what I love, and get "paid/?" for it as well. This is probably why so many farmers keep at it when the money is always short. Sure, the Multi-nationals take full advantage of this and pay us peanuts and keep us poor. You know what......I still come out the winner. I'm doing what I love, what I've always done. What my father and his father and his father before him have done. I don't understand the 9-5ers, and they don't understand me. I don't know if they will ever get it, some will and some won't. I don't wish them ill will. If it really makes them happy, let them have it. I've found that this kind of life is full and rich.


At 11/01/2005 12:16 PM, Blogger ctroutma said...

Your writing over the past year has really helped me to try and be more deliberate about involving the kids in everything that I do. That means letting my daughter help me bottle my brew, getting my little man to drag the trash bags outside and a hundred other little things. Another person who has really helped me is Rick Saenz who is consistent about saying that you should never do anything for them that they are capable of doing themselves. Anyways, thanks for the encouragement.

At 11/10/2005 8:52 PM, Blogger JM said...


Thanks for this post, great reminder of why we do what we do!!



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