One of the things we are blessed with being in agriculture is the ability to take our children to work with us whenever we please. All of our kids grow up working with me on the farm. This summer I have had our son out irrigating, laying out irrigation pipe, fetching tools from the toolbox while I work on something, and many other tasks around the farm. What I have begun to realize is that we instill a work ethic early in life in most of our children on the farm.
Now, don’t think farm kids are unlike other kids and don’t like to sleep in when they get the chance, but for the most part we were and my kids are expected to get up in the mornings and help out. Although, we have 7 and 4 year olds who always wake up at 6:30. What brought me to this blog post is observing my cousins sons who are spending the summer up here. You do not go to work with Mom or Dad, so you do not have that modeling of hard physical labor and work ethic instilled in you every day. It doesn’t take long for them to figure out that agriculture is hard work. Sweating, getting dirty, working in 100 degree heat and high humidity is not in their context of normal. When I tell my 7 year old to shut off 100 gates on a pipeline, he does it no questions asked. To them, it is hot, you have to get your shoes muddy, and it is not fun, why should I do it? I am pretty sure production agriculture is not going to be a career they will choose. However, what they learn and experience while here on the farm is very important.
They have learned where their food comes from, how it is produced, the labor it takes to produce it and even at such a young age, they have learned why the farm is important both from a family standpoint and in the production of what they eat. The other thing they have learned is that the farm is fun! You get to ride and drive XUV’s, ride in tractors, drink irrigation water fresh from the aquifer, get sprayed by a pivot, mud down a pivot road in a pickup, get dirty, eat fresh sweet corn, pick that sweetcorn yourself, learn how to run weedeaters, call cows, kick mud at each other off of your shoes, powerwash those tennis shoes to like new condition, and may other things on the farm.
You see, I take these things for granted with my kids because we do them everyday and it is part of our job. Everyday is take your kids to work day. I am glad to see these boys experience the farm and learn what we do. Even though we don’t get a lot of work out of them (we do get some) they have a positive view of agriculture and can share the experiences they have with their friends and hopefully when they hear something negative about agriculture they have a little bit to say in defense.