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Fathers Day and Agriculture
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First here’s wishing all the dads out there a Happy Fathers’ Day. Since the wheat is rapidly ripening and harvest will soon be here, especially after the past week’s heat, let’s focus on something a bit more upbeat fathers, children, and agriculture.
For most of us, going to work means driving to our place of employment whether we are self-employed or work for someone else. If we are lucky we have a career, not a job, and do something we love. Normally, we have to sacrifice time with family, missing family events and children’s activities to provide a life for our children and dependents. As a society we justified our absence in part by saying that the quality of time spent with children was more important than the quantity. It has turned out both quantity and quality matter.
Unfortunately not many jobs allow us to spend the time we’d like with of children. And for many of us, while our children may know where we work and even a job title/description, our work seems remote and distant. Work is something keeping us away from home. Farmers and ranchers typically work many more hours than the average person but they have an advantage – they normally live where they work. So what are the advantages of having a family and often working 16 hour days, often 7 days a week? This really applies equally to mothers or fathers on the farm.
* When appropriate and safe, children can be with their fathers while they work.
* As they age, children can join in helping with tasks which allows them to learn from their father (or mother) while developing those farm kid traits so valued by employers.
* Farm kids have the advantage of being able to simply watch by seeing their father (or mother) at his “job”, learning without a word being said.
* Farm kids see parents at their best and worst; when things are going well and badly; when they have to deal with and solve problems.
* A farm kids knows what their father does for a living and has an idea of what it takes.
* Children on farms normally know just how hard everyone works to produce food, fiber, and fuel so they can have home.
* Parents of farm kids, since they are their own boss, often make time for their children and their activities. There is no clock to punch, just tasks to be completed.
You can probably add many more items to the list. This isn’t to imply agricultural production is an idyllic, perfect life but it is a life where parents have a greater opportunity than many of us to share their lives and what they do with their children.