I snapped this picture of Sidge the other day. He looked so quintessentially ... farm kid ...
It's weird to me because I did not grow up as a farm kid. I did not grow up rural at all. But here I am, the mother of four farm kids. More specifically, the mother of two teenage boys who work the farm. Isaac has made it perfectly clear that he is not going to stay a rural person. But Sidge? He loves the life. (The girls? Not sure. Abigail, currently, is quite the girly girl ... acting all afraid of bugs and what-not. We are trying. But we'll have to see.)
Both boys are saying things to me that are causing me to switch roles with them. I've always been the grown-up. They've always been the little kid. But now? Now, specifically when we are out on the farm, they say things like: "Hop in Mom. I'll give you a ride," when they are driving the sidekick around the farm. They'll be helping me run a hose and say, "I got this Mom. You go over and check on that line." If we have a threat of a predator, Sidge goes to grab the gun first. When there is a crisis, they are stepping in front of me to handle it. They can do anything I can do and honestly, a bit more.
I am more and more convinced that every young man needs to work with their hands. Even if, like Isaac, it doesn't appear that they want their future life to involve manual labor, I think there is intrinsic to them that desires hard work. That desires to solve a problem. That desires to help a lady.
I recently stumbled upon a video featuring TEMPLE GRANDIN. I am a HUGE Temple Grandin fan, and if you haven't heard of her, YOU NEED TO! Please check out the movie by the same name starring Claire Danes for a complete take on her life living with severe autism. (This is a family-friendly movie. Let your kids watch it too!) Temple spends a majority of this video talking bout types of learners. Talking about how, we, as a society, have decided how everyone needs to learn. And we've decided that they need to learn the way a written scholar learns. An intellectual scholar.
What about the learner who learns best with his hands? Why are removing shop classes and everything manual from our schools? Students need these types of things. Not all of them. But some of them. Temple discusses meeting adults who have never held a screwdriver. They've never used a tape measurer.
Here is the truth: we don't all live rural. We can't all live rural. But if you live anywhere close to rural, get your young person using their hands. Not just our boys. Our girls too. And if you don't live rural, figure out a way, in your city landscape, to get them doing things that aren't just about books.
I am actually blown away watching what fourteen-year-old boys are capable of. They can do as much as a grown man. They don't quite have the "perspective" of a man yet, and therefore they need to be more cautious. They can make quicker mistakes since they don't have the experience that someone with twenty years on them has. But they are so incredibly capable of doing so much. And many of them, like Sidge, would be lost if all he had was a classroom and four walls and no nature.
We, as parents, can visibly see an improvement in our second son's attitude, emotion, feelings, when he gets an opportunity to be outside.
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