5 Best Things About Raising Farm Kids

I was raised as a ‘farm kid’, and since this was in rural Saskatchewan, most of my good friends also lived on a farm and I never considered it to be unique or a benefit, it was just a normal way to grow up.  I never intended to end up back on the farm, in fact it was the last place I intended to be.  When I left for University I was never ever,..in a million years,…ever coming back to the farm (and I wasn’t ever having kids either,…so there you go).

Now that I’m a mom of 4 farm kids, I realize how lucky they are to be farm kids, and how lucky I am to be raising kids on the farm.  Now I’m not comparing or disrespecting raising kids off of the farm, I’m simply saying raising kids on the farm is unique and has its benefits.

Here are the 5 highlights for me:

1.  ‘I’m bored’ is not solved by having a friend over or going to the corner store.  No it is solved by finding a sibling to play with or making up a game because there is nobody else to play with for over 10 miles, and there is nowhere to go.  In my house, this statement is also solved by doing chores or cleaning, which usually motivates them to find something to do on their own in a quick hurry.  This helps my kids to be inventive with their play and forces them to make up the most ridiculous games.  It also allows kids to learn to like their own company and to play without outside stimulation.  Quiet alone time is good for everyone’s soul.

2. The animals take care of many life lessons.  The ‘birds and the bees’ talk is taken care of early with cats in heat, calving season, and the breeding process of the animals.  They also learn about life and death and what it looks like.  When one of the farm kittens gets ran over, they understand the finality of it in a hurry.  A few years back my daughter was looking outside the kitchen window and I asked what she was looking at.  She referred to the female cat – laying on her back – with the male cat sitting close by.  She said Spotty’s so sick of those male cats trying to breed her – she just rolled over on her back to get rid of them.  I quickly agreed with her and walked away,…what was I going to say??  Yes, the farm animals definitely give my kids plenty of opportunity to learn about the birds and the bees.

3.  The work day ends when the work ends.  I think that many kids that have self-employed parents learn this, and for farm kids its kicked up a notch.  When it’s seeding and especially during harvest, the day starts and ends based on capability of working and the clock is irrelevant.  Kids learn that when it’s seeding and harvest nothing gets planned, and it all depends on the weather.  Kids also know that during calving season, work goes throughout the night.  We don’t complain about it because it’s just part of the deal.  I think for many farm kids, they realize that there is a time to work and a time for rest, I hope that this serves my kids well and that they are good employees and stewards to the community and do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and not complain about how hard it is.

4.  We are vulnerable to the weather – and it’s a big deal.  If you live in a rural community you know that the first point of conversation has to do with the weather, the forecast, or how much rain you got last night, last week, last year.  As a farm kid you learn quickly at how vulnerable we all are to the weather.  Freezing temperatures in August, a hail storm, a drought, or excessive rain all means that finances are going to be greatly affected and every farm kid understands the impact of nature on their life.  Kids also learn that their ability to do something or go somewhere ‘depends on the weather’.  I wonder how many times a farm kid hears – we don’t know if we can go yet, it depends if it rains or not.  I remember when I moved to Yellowknife and worked in a dental office, patients would come in and to strike up conversation I always mentioned the weather.  I realized right away that this was not a topic of concern or consideration – and it was only then that I realized that our obsession with weather and the forecast is a very Saskatchewan thing.

5.  Farm Kids understand shit – manure – or crap – whatever you want to call it.  Farm kids have to shovel it, spread it, smell it, and wash it off when they step in it.  In some ways it prepares them for life, since in the work place it takes on a different shape – but there is a lot of crap to deal with coming from different assholes.  I’m kidding,…well kind of.  Learning to deal with crap on the farm makes kids do what they don’t want to do, makes them push past what they thought they could not do, and teaches them that a little poop never killed anyone and it will wash off (just shut your eyes when it comes flinging your way because it burns).  I was never a big fan of having crap flung my way when a cow ran by, but apparently it give me a bit of preparation for motherhood.

When I headed off to University I was a bit ashamed that I was just a farm kid.  I felt that everyone assumed I was a hick and that I lacked the experience of a city kid.  What I have learned along the way is that being a farm kid has made me strong & resilient with a good work ethic.  I hope that when my kids head off to the city (for college or university) I can instill in them a sense of pride about being a farm kid.  Kids that are raised on the farm and in small towns should be proud of their roots and confident that they have all of the essential life skills to thrive wherever life takes them.  I’m very glad that life brought me back to the farm and I get the opportunity to live in rural Saskatchewan – for me, it really is the best place to raise my kids!!




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