There are many things we can learn from farm children – maybe because they are direct descendants from farmers themselves.
Children watch and imitate adults, even when they’re picking up things we wish they wouldn’t.
But farmers are creative by nature. If they can’t find what they want, or even if they don’t want to pay the price for something they want, they unearth their drawing table, do a little figuring on their blue jeans, lift their seed corn caps to scratch their heads and soon they emerge from the shop, having created something out of almost nothing.
It’s what farmers do.
It reminds me of the story of a man who told God that humans had become so technologically advanced that they could create their own human life, and they didn’t need Him anymore. So God said, “Okay, you can try it, but you’ll have to create a person the same way I did.” So the man reached to the ground to gather up some dirt, when God asked him what he was doing. The man replied that he was making a person. But God said to him, “No, make your own dirt.”
I’ll bet God would never make that same challenge to a farmer. He knows they’d do it.
Farmers and their children spend a lot of time together. As often as the farmer has created something out of nothing, the farmer’s children have been close by. Watching. Seeing how it’s done. And crafting the trade.
When our children were in middle school, we decided they could spend the afternoon on their own while we had some running around to do. We got a lot done that day – and apparently our children did, too.
Darkness had fallen by the time we returned, and as we drove down the gravel road leading to our farm we could see all the machine shed lights were on.
My husband, not one to waste a penny, was already not happy, assuming they had been left on while the kids were in the house. But the closer we got, the more his attitude changed.
We saw something gliding across the snowy front yard behind a four-wheeler.
“What the … ?” we both thought as we craned our necks to see what was going on out there.
Was that a couch sliding across the front yard? With … someone … on it?
My husband rolled the pickup window down, and over the sound of the four-wheeler we could hear the squeals of delight coming from all of our children.
They had created a way to have a little fun outside on a winter day while we were gone. Doing as their dad always did, they went to the shop to see what was around to use to create a sled. They had the junk couch that wasn’t doing anything. Now they needed runners.
And once again, the iron pile provided the answer, as it had so many times before.
“We put some disk blades on the bottom of the couch so it would slide,” said one of our grinning sons as he explained. By now, his dad was grinning, too.
The kids all worked on the “sled” together, then found a rope to hook it onto the four-wheeler-and what resulted was an afternoon of bonding in the great outdoors and a whole new definition of sledding.
Everyone could participate at the same time, and it offered a new suggestion for “kicking back and enjoying a cold one.”
Their shrieks of joy proclaimed success.
If only the laundry pile held as much excitement as the iron pile does. Shrieks from the laundry room usually mean something totally different.
Especially on the farm.
Schwaller is a Farm News correspondent from Milford. Reach her by e-mail at email@example.com and at www.karenschwaller.com.
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