May 7, 2012
Farm Mom LessonsBy Cyndie Sirekis
This is the month that we celebrate Mother’s Day. Going beyond the holiday’s commercial aspects, it may be one of the few days during the year when moms are able to bask in the full attention of their offspring, at least for a few hours. Farm and ranch moms will often take advantage of this to emphasize life lessons like the ones below.
“Being a farm kid may not be glamorous but you are making a difference in someone’s life.”
Everyone eats. Although most farmers and ranchers are humble by nature, growing food for people to eat has been described as a noble calling, one that kids should be proud to participate in.
“Even though the job is hard, we don’t give up and walk away.” Many farm families have been working the same land for generations, often for 100 years or longer.
“You will be able to get hired in any career – employers know you can work hard because you grew up on a farm.” Today’s farmers and ranchers are fortunate to be able to take advantage of technology when raising livestock or growing food for America’s tables. But the hours are still long and the family commitment to farming as a way of life remains unchanged.
“Farm kids are fortunate to have the chance to see and understand the cycle of life for themselves starting at an early age.” On a farm, the animals come first. Whether cow, pig, chicken, sheep, goat, rabbit or something else – the care and feeding of animals on a farm is always a priority. The animals are usually fed and cared for each day before the farm family eats. Helping to feed farm animal “babies” is often the first chore for a farm kid, paving the way for bigger jobs with more responsibility in the future.
When it comes to being a mom, those who farm or ranch – and those who don’t – have a lot in common. They’re both likely to impart encouraging life lessons like these: “You can be whatever you want to be…you can do whatever you want in your career if you just put your mind to it;” “Always give 100 percent in whatever you do and you will never be disappointed;” and “You may not see your hard work pay off today but before long you’ll be glad you spent the extra time to do the job (or the homework or the project) right.”
Perhaps the universal “mom” lesson from women in both farming and non-farming families would better be described as a rallying cry for those (inevitable) moments of discouragement all kids face – “I love you. I believe in you. I know you can do it.”
Cyndie Sirekis is director of news services with the American Farm Bureau Federation.