Farming is a tough way, financially, to make a living. Everyone knows that. You might wonder why, with all the other options I have, I choose to stubbornly hang on to a lifestyle and business that requires working 16 hour days, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for a return that is often less than minimum wage. One big reason is that I have 7 children and I can’t imagine cheating them out of the experience of growing up on a farm!
Here are 7 reasons why growing up on farm is the best way to grow up…
Farm kids are connected to nature
Today most kids live in a totally artificial environment, disconnected from the wonders and beauty of the natural world. Farm kids have hundreds of acres to explore and discover. Instead of playing video games, they hunt for fossils, watch birds, build shelters, catch frogs, play in the rain, and feel the bite of the wind at -20. They nurse sick wildlife back to health and then turn them loose, learn to identify tracks and sign, and experience the seasons in all their glory.
Farm kids learn responsibility and a strong work ethic
Farm kids have chores. Not “make work” chores for the sake of having a chore, but jobs that are of real importance to the family’s livelihood. Farm kids learn from birth that a job that needs doing must get done. Come hell or high water, rain…snow…or forty below, the cows must be fed and milked. Not doing a job is not an option. Calling in sick is not an option. No matter what path in life they choose, farm kids have a huge unfair advantage in work ethic.
Farm kids have a grasp of “the birds and the bees” before the awkward conversation
The success of any livestock enterprise hinges on reproduction. It doesn’t take long for a kid to figure out that when a bull and heifer are in the same pen, and the bull “does his thing” that the heifer has a baby. I remember once when my oldest sons were about 6 and 7, they were in the yard arguing something fierce. I went out to get to the bottom of it, and it turned out that the one son was mad at the other because his rooster had got out and breed his hen, which was another breed. “Now I’m going have a bunch of crossbreed chicks!!!” was the complaint I heard. Now sure, you still have to discuss the biblical guidelines and morality of sex; but it sure is nice that you don’t have to explain the mechanics of it all!
Farm kids know how to improvise
There are plenty of jokes out there about farmers and “duct tape and baling twine”, but lets face it, sometimes a job must be done NOW and repairs must be made with what’s on hand. Instead of crying that something is broken, or throwing it away, farm kids fix it. It is just second nature. It’s the way it’s done. Farm kids are not paralyzed by the fact that they don’t have the proper part. Instead they inventory what resources they have and do the best they can. And 9 times out of 10, that’s good enough.
Farm kids learn to be entrepreneurs
Farm kids don’t get allowances or get paid for doing chores. They do however, get gifts of reproducing stock and free feed & board. By the time they are 10 they can buy and sell with the best of them, sometimes doing transactions that are in the thousands of dollars. They learn to reinvest and how to be wise stewards. They learn that nothing is a “sure thing”.
Farm kids understand life and death
On the farm, kids get to witness the miracle of birth and tragedy of death. In the modern world, children seem to be sheltered from both, at a great detriment to them and society.
Farm kids understand that mammals nurse their young
In a world where “public breastfeeding” is debated, argued about, and generally frowned upon, farm kids are like “Hey, the little feller is hungry. Let him suck his mother”. Nothing odd or edgy about this to a farm kid. They don’t get nervous, embarrassed, or stare. It’s just life in God’s wonderful created order, playing out like it does everywhere, since the beginning and until the end.
There are lots of other reasons why growing up on the farm is the best way to grow up. These are just 7 reasons off the top of my head. If you have more, feel free to leave them in the comments…
Thinking about starting your own homestead? You might want to read this before you get started…