Monday, March 14, 2005

Farm Kids

One of the best things about life on the farm is the life it gives the kids. They get to be really responsible. Not fake responsible. Not “responsible” for things that don’t really make a difference in anyone’s life (like doing their homework for instance). Responsible for things that make their lives better, and our life as a family better.

They get to earn their own money. Not allowances. Not be given everything they could ever dream of wanting.

When they churn the butter, they know something about what butter means. If they don’t pay attention and churn too slowly, the butter will never come. If they don’t pay attention and churn too fast, the cream will whip up and overflow, wasting a valued and valuable commodity.

When they carry in the wood, they know something about what keeping the house warm means.

When they do work for the neighbor and get paid, or raise something in the garden and sell it, or make something and sell it, or make a trade with someone, they know something real about the free market. They know something about the free market that most adults never even learn because most adults operate in the wage-slavery government regulated guild protection system. Most people never see that there is even a way out of that but our children will grow up intimately familiar with alternatives.

Perhaps most, they have time to be people, to be with their own thoughts, to determine their own direction. Gatto talks about time being what schooling steals from our children and our families.

They also get to do things that really challenge them – things they choose for themselves, from climbing a tree to taming a donkey to earning enough money to buy something. And they know things, like how to taste the ground to determine its pH. They have called on their fortitude and bravery, like not running when something big like a cow challenges you – they know it is there.

Did I leave out that they get to work together cooperatively, aren't celled with age-mates or brainwashed to believe that everything is a competition, know their strengths and weaknesses, express their senses of humor, on and on and on . . . .

I always hate it when the part in correspondence comes when I am supposed to talk about the kids because, how can I? They are so . . . themselves. They don’t fit tidy little descriptions. They are big messy wonderful fellow travelers on this path with us.

And they are the only reason our ancestors ever existed.

And all the advantages they have, we have too. That's pretty cool.

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