I believe that our youth is the future of our country, and that our prosperity is intrinsically linked to them. For that reason, I am very involved in coaching youth sports in our local community. I believe that participating in sports builds strength of character in addition to muscle strength. I coach soccer, swimming, track, and t ball and I love every minute of it.
The strength of character that I learned participating in sports as a child and young adult has helped me tremendously as I have adapted to a life on a farm caring for thousands of food animals. I hope that my children will develop that same personal responsibility and desire to give their best effort every day in everything that they do. Because this is a huge priority for me, I not only have my children involved in sports and community activities, but also actively engaged in the work on our farm.
We had a series of bad storms come through our area over the past couple of weeks, and these storms blew down quite a few trees and limbs down at our grass
pasture. We do not have any cattle down on the grass pasture right now (see the posts from last week about “the gather”), but we plan to “hay” two of the pastures that were not grazed yet this spring in order to bale feed for the winter months. “Haying” the pastures means that we will mow down the grass and then, after it has dried for a couple of days, bale the grass.
In order to “mow” the grass, all of the tree limbs that blew down into the pasture have to be moved out of the way. This is a perfect job for my kids! So, I loaded them up (with plenty of grumbling) and we headed down to the pasture in the pickup. When we first began, there was a bit of bickering about who got to drive the pickup and who had to pick up limbs and sticks. I quietly set out moving the largest limbs and let the girls figure it out themselves.
I was pleasantly surprised that it did not take much time or coaxing on my part to get the girls started working. They soon were not only doing their “fair share” of the work, but were also working together as a team to move the big branches that they could not lift single- handedly. We ended up clearing out branches and limbs from about four miles of fence line, and it took close to three hours of work to get it done. A nearby storm brought high winds and a little bit of rain as we were finishing up the job, and I was proud of the way that the girls kept working until the job was finished despite the bad weather.
The best part of the afternoon was the fact that the girls followed my example and took it upon themselves to do their part. The grumbling that I heard on the way down to the pasture was replaced by camaraderie and teamwork as they figured out a way to accomplish the goal. As we drove home, everyone was tired but I could tell that they were proud of what they had accomplished.
I was proud of the fact that my girls not only worked hard, but also worked together using problem solving skills in order to successfully accomplish the task. I do this every day as I work to care for my animals and raise safe and healthy beef.
Whether it is on a track or on a farm, the lessons that we teach our kids are vitally important. I believe that it is my job to teach my kids to “do their part” and develop a good work ethic. I am confident that my girls will be successful wherever their dreams take them because the “life lessons” that they learn on our farm give them the skills that they need in order to be successful—one stick at a time…