Life's Little Lessons Learned on the Farm...
There is always so much negativity on Facebook. Most farmers, big or small, have learned to take it with grace and to use a positive means to share our own stories and experiences. All of these anti-ag and anti-FFA posts/stories have made me think how much I really learned from living and having a farm of my own.
So here are some of those little lessons that I have learned:
*Responsibility- For most of us this is obvious. Any time you take on something that requires care around the clock you learn more about responsibility. Any parent or person with a pet can relate to that. It is more than just basic responsibility. It is knowing that the world that surrounds me is depending on us to produce milk and to have healthy cows to produce these things. It is getting up way earlier than I want and doing chores that I dread when I get home every evening. It is learning to embrace this crazy life that we chose to jump into. It is raising healthy animals that are the future of our farm. It is raising a little boy who knows that responsibility is and how to handle it!
*Resilience- I know that any mom out there can pick up on this one. Oh how motherhood can make one resilient! On that farm that seems to be magnified. Resilience comes when a baby calf is born dead. When a mama just can't get that baby out on her own. (Now let me tell you, I can sympathize with her on that!) When a cow just isn't going to make it because she is too sick to keep going. When you walk in to feed a baby calf that was fine a little while ago, and she is no longer alive. Resilience is referred to elasticity of a person. Well believe me when I say I am more elastic that I ever thought I could be. Believe it or not this is something that my two year old is already learning. That part about the calf dying expectantly happened to us last weekend. It was my father-in-laws calf that we were feeding and it just happened. We loaded her up to haul her off and through the process Cole looks at me and says, "Mom, cow died." He gets it. He is beginning his knowledge of knowing that farming is not always fun and that sometimes animals die. He is picking up on the feeling that we have done all we can do, but we can't always prevent it all. He is understanding something that a lot of youth and even adults in today's society do not grasp. I am so thankful that God has given me this life and this little boy to raise on the farm!
*Stubbornness- While I am naturally a stubborn red head, being on the farm has only increased that trait. I know there are things around the farm that I can't do, but I will not give up on trying a million times before admitting I can't do something. There is nothing that irritates me more than having to holler at the hubs to do something for me that I thought for sure I could myself. Yet again, my son is the same way! He is learning this one quick. He will not have the life of luxury many of his peers will have. He will not sit inside and play video games. He will grow up outside on the farm where he too will learn what it's like to be determined to solve a problem. Many of his peers and heck many of mine don't have that ability. They give up and walk away when something bad comes their way. Maybe the correct word is DETERMINATION. It is my goal to raise children that are determined and know how to deal with what life is going to throw at them. Hopefully they will learn the appropriate time for being stubborn. :)
*Needs vs. Wants- I could sum this up to say FINANCES, but I think as we all are forced to become adults, we learn this one way or another and most of the time on our own. What I really mean here is learning to know what you really do need versus what you really do just want. I can WANT things with the best of them! Living on a farm forces you to learn what you do really need. You really do need to put the needs of your animals before your own. They really do need to have certain things that they must have. I really do think this is just a part of growing up and becoming an adult, especially when you have kids!! You just seem to take it to a who new level when you throw in kids and animals. My "wanted" accessories in life just changed a little from cute shoes to pink Muck Boots. See the differences are minimal really. :)
*Selflessness and Service- This is something that I know we all strive for in our lives and for those of us who are parents, we know what it is like to constantly put others before us. On the farm you learn to give everything you have to anyone who might be in need. A fine example of this is hay season. Every hay season it is a group effort to get it all done. Typically it is a full family affair that includes friends who might as well be family. Last year during hay season we decided selling our house, living in a camper, and then moving into a new farm would be a great idea. This resulted in lots of late nights with zero time to spare. When it comes down to it, I see my husband out there busting it to make sure that our hay is up, father-in-law's hay is up, brother-in-law's hay is up, bff #1 & 2's hay is up, and so on. There are so many times that we volunteer to help when our own time is coming up short. Let me tell you one thing, hay season is that time of year you always seem to learn who your loyal friends are! They are the ones that will help out before you even ask. It is more a matter of "What can I do to help?" We are there in a hurry to help in any way that we can and they do the same for us. Being a farmer means doing what you have to just to get the job done, and more often than not it means helping others out and expecting nothing in return. It is just what we do. Society today is so focused on how will I benefit from something. Society like to focus on ME, MYSELF, and I. Life on the farm brings you selflessness because you learn to focus on how can WE get something accomplished and learning to enjoy the accomplishment without ever worrying about the reward.
*FAITH- I will end with this, farming has taught me that there is someone else in charge. There have been so many times that I have just had to stop and think, "God has a better plan." God knows the outcome of everything that happens to us. He has taught me to put my faith in him and let him lead us where we need to go. His plan is always bigger and better than ours. This is one of the hardest lessons to learn. I love to be in control of my own life, but I have come to (and am still dealing with) the realization that I am not in control. I found another blog (check it here) that said this, "When we are going through difficult times, we can have faith that God is mindful of what we are experiencing and may be preparing us for a new season in our life. If we keep going, and walk by faith, He will help us through the storms and lead us to brighter days ahead."
While these lessons are common in life, I just know that these anti-agriculture people just don't get it. If you "get it" then I hope you think about it and give credit to the times in your life and the circumstances that allowed you to learn these lessons. After all God always knows what he is doing with our lives, even if we don't.
Check back tomorrow for some FOOD FOR FRIDAY!