Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Where the credit is due
Over and over again, I am struck my what a great childhood my kids are having. And no, I'm not talking about my perfect parenting, their material possessions,or their renaissance experiences. I am talking about the wide open spaces. I am talking about no fences. I am talking about no fear. I am talking about the feeling of fresh air, a vision of a sky full of stars, the smell of livestock, the taste of food that was grown with your own hands. I am talking about the farm. Right now, the young-uns are outside exploring. Each day, when they go outside, they wander around the property making up games, pretending, finding animal paw prints in the dirt, blazing trails, feeding animals, covering themselves in dirt all the while. This was not the childhood I had, but it was the childhood of my husband and all his family before him. Nothing about this strikes him as wonderful or strange. But to me, I take it all in and have to wonder, what type of people will this make them? I know for a fact they will never be bored. They don't depend media to entertain them. I also know for a fact they will be innovative and self-sufficient. They have learned to figure out how to do things and how to make things happen. This of course is the obvious reason for the progress of civilization- we are all where we are because of the survival and perseverance of the people before us. And while we are all capable of contributing to society, I see people with the knowledge of basic survival skills and basic problem solving skills and self-sufficiency as being the people who make the biggest changes for good. I wish I could take the credit for these qualities in my kids. But the credit goes to the great outdoors. The credit goes to the hours and hours that they have spent and will spent simply figuring out life outside the four walls of this house.
I work in nursing homes located in rural areas. The majority of people that I work with grew up in this area on family farms. When they hear that I am the wife of a farmer, and that my children are growing up on a farm, they tell me, "Honey, it's a hard life. But it's a good life. I'm a better person for growing up on a farm." This generation of people is also the generation who were finally able to leave the farm. There were education opportunities available to them which allowed them to move to the city, take jobs working for the man and raise families in neighborhoods. At the time I'm sure it sounded like the dream life. Now, families like mine are in the minority and I hear all the time from city folk, "You are so lucky to live on a farm!" And I can't agree with them more.
In a time in our world where parents and children are forced to alienate themselves from others and be on hyper alert for danger outside of the home, I am ever thankful. My kids are running free, no cars or strangers in sight. Just wide open spaces and plenty of exploring to do.
Thank you farm. Thank you God.