Friday, November 9, 2012

Living our Lives Together—Day 8 of a Town Girl Touched by the Farming Life

Washing dishes with Mom
            In my mind, the one thing that touches the family on the farm the most is family. Traditionally, the demands of a family farm forced everyone to work as a team.  Slackers were not tolerated.  Absence was rarely excused.  Everyone contributed something, even a small child could hand another potato to mom to be peeled.  Children cannot often appreciate the beauty of this system, but hopefully later they appreciate the gifts of living and working daily with their family.

            My parents copied this pattern even though we did not live on a farm.  Well, my parents have lived and worked a farm for over 20 years now, but that was after I left home.  Even so, they copied many farm habits and attitudes, including this one.  Where my parents went, that is where the kids went.  No choice.  No catering to whines.  No alternatives. 

            To be honest, many times as a child, I would have given anything to have done something else.  Sometimes I would be absolutely bored.  I am tempted to say, "I was bored to tears," but I knew better than to actually shed tears of resistance.  Yet, this we-are-all-going method was an unexpected blessing.  First, I learned to find something interesting or noteworthy wherever I went.  One day it might have been following an ant trail.  On another, it might have been "nailing" six-penny nails into the mud.  Then it might also have been learning that I really was big enough to help mom and dad do that day's building task.

            Second, I learned it is "o.k." to be bored.  No one will really die from boredom, and in fact, if you are "bored" just long enough, your quiet thoughts begin speaking loud enough to hear.  Pondering relationships and plans will become enlightening.  Even little girls have ideas to ponder:  "What makes the cover of my Sleeping Beauty book so irresistibly breathtaking? " "I'm glad Kathy is not as shy as me.  If she hadn't made me talk to her, I would have never known she was going to be my best friend." or even "What do I want for Christmas this year?"  Even more fascinating is that some of these quiet thoughts are actually stories that come to life with fairies, talking animals, and trails through overgrown, yet beautiful, forests.  Mysteriously, these adventures hide behind busy days and only come out to play when nothing will cloud their existence.

            For the better or worse for my children, I learned these truths by the time I had children.  My children have also been cursed with going with my husband and me wherever we go.  Unlike my days with my parents, it is not truly everywhere all the time, but compared to some families, it sure seems like it.  They do not complain about it.  Of course, they know it would not do them any good to complain and could possibly make things worse.  On the other hand, that is how it has always been.  They expect to go with us just as much as they expect to buckle up in the van every time they get in or to go to church every Sunday.  That is just what life is like.  It's not only good for them but for us parents as well.  It makes me happy—even when they drive me crazy.  We are a family.  Even though we may not work like a team on a farm, our family has been touched by how we complement each other. This happens only because we live our lives together.


  1. I agree with you 100%....there were a lot of times that I would have given anything to have done something else. I dealt with that the same way that you did and I can say that as an adult I am almost never bored. I think it was from all those years of training. ;) (Love the photo)