I came across this post on Facebook recently and after I thought about it for a few days, I just couldn’t not share it with you. How many of us haven’t been through this?
Little ones are always a challenge, but it is even more important on the farm that they are included and invested in the work farmers are doing. Only ONE PERCENT of the population are farmers. If we want to be able to keep the family farm afloat in the U.S., farmers must invest in their children along with everything else they are supposed to do.
Farmers are the ultimate superheroes.
PUT ON YOUR PATIENCE PANTS, by Krista
This photo was taken while planting last spring but it sets the stage for a story that has been on my mind lately so I wanted to share now. Side note, browsing my May 2017 pictures to find this one I couldn’t help but have conflicting love/hate feelings in seeing how much the girls have changed in the last year!
The machines we use to harvest ours crops have “buddy seats” and large cabs with space for passengers to ride along. But tractors, the machines that pull the planter, have a much smaller cab, so it’s not as easy for extra people to ride along. Plus, planting must be done with great precision and distractions can mean the seeds do not get planted correctly.
For those reasons, we typically do not spend much time in the tractor during planting. But on the day this photo was taken, Brett was going to be planting late into the evening so the girls and I took a meal he could eat on the go. And the two big girls rode one round in the planter with him.
After the crop started growing, Brett came home one day after he had been out to check this field and told me he could tell exactly where the girls got in and out of the tractor. There were skips in the field because he didn’t get the planter turned on and off in the right place. The initial feeling when you see skips in your field is frustration. Isn’t it always frustrating when something doesn’t turn out as you planned?
But let’s be real. Often when little kids are involved the things we do don’t go as planned. Or maybe they take a bit longer, or aren’t done as well as the experienced person would have done, or maybe there’s extra time spent on clean up.
This isn’t just applicable to farming, but everything. I think of this often when the girls want to help with preparing a meal or baking a batch of cookies. Wouldn’t it be so easy to just do it myself? I would get done faster, the finished product would be just how I want it, and I wouldn’t have as big of a mess. This is especially applicable to decorated sugar cookies. Have you used those itty bitty round sprinkles that roll for miles and are virtually impossible to sweep up? Whoever came up with those has clearly never decorated cookies with a 3 year old.
But here’s the thing. If we don’t put on our patience pants and take time to allow the kids to be part of the things we do, how can we ever expect them to want to be involved with those things as they get older? How can we expect them to develop a passion or appreciation for those things?
While it’s our hope that at least one of the girls will want to continue our family farm, we want the girls to grow up with a strong appreciation for agriculture regardless of what they choose to do in their future. If we want to instill our passion for agriculture in them, we have to make them a part of the farm and give them a chance to start taking on roles now.
And you know what happens when the kids become involved and have a chance to participate in the things you are doing? They improve. They learn what the next step is. They pull ingredients out of the fridge. They open the gate to the barn. They grab a rag and clean a spot off the floor when they spill. They color quietly during the Church service. All are a work in progress, but you can see improvement when they are excited to be included.
And you know what happens to parents when they let kids become more involved? You realize how helpful little ones can be. You find ways to simplify and eliminate frustrations. Like using the long bar sprinkles “jimmies” instead of those little round sprinkles.
I admit, I still have a great deal of improvement to make in this area myself. When I begin to feel a frustrated about something, I remind myself that sprinkles on the floor or a blank spot in the field are pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things. If that’s the cost for building passion in the girls, that’s a price I’m willing to pay.