Since joining the awesome team here at Mid-Michigan Moms Blog, I’ve gotten to meet a lot of sweet mamas that live in urban and suburban areas. Their lives are so interesting to me. I can’t imagine being five minutes from anything! I’m a country girl. We live on 74 acres, our traffic is mostly tractors and semis, and it’s an hour to anything that passes as a real mall.
When we did our foster care training, the instructor pointed out that we were going to have to be very proactive to teach our placements how to stay safe on a farm. We had never realized how many things are second nature to our kids, but not normal for other children.
Here are some of the things that we had to work on right away:
1. Never approach a vehicle until the engine is off or the driver sees and signals you. Along the same lines, loud beeping means something is backing up and you need to get away fast! I’d imagine this is very different than in the city where kids are used to approaching vehicles on a curb. We have big equipment in and out of the driveway every day and running up to it could be disastrous.
2. Entertain yourself. If your basic needs are met – I’ve fed you and you’re dressed and I’m here to encourage you or kiss your boos boos when you fall down – then you need to find somewhere to play, watch your brothers playing, or help with what I’m doing. I can’t stop in the middle of chores because you’re throwing a fit. Our kids are creative, imaginative, and certainly not harmed by this time spent entertaining themselves.
3. You reap what you sow. This isn’t just a cute saying, farmers live it every day. The kids know that sometimes we have to venture out without Daddy. If he doesn’t get the crops planted, we can’t pay the mortgage. I hope this concept of getting in what you put out will benefit our children as they grow and eventually establish their own careers.
4. Work hard, play hard. Somebody recently said our kids have every kid’s dream life. They get to play in the dirt and sunshine, they have ponies to ride, and if there’s a toy they really want it usually shows up at the next holiday. They know we have those things because we all work really, really hard. We remind them of that when they are bored or whining while we finish some farm task.
5. Disobedience is deadly. I get it that one’s parenting style is a very personal choice. “Gentle” parenting and natural consequences have their place, but around here the natural consequence of breaking most rules would be death. If I tell my three-year-old not to climb in the pen with the 2000+ steers and he does it anyway, I may not have another chance to teach him. Our kids know that obeying keeps them safe.
I hope this gives you a little taste of what life is like out here! I think one of my cohorts is going to do a companion post on what city kids know, so watch for that. If you have questions or want to know more about farm life feel free to reach out to me through the comments or your favorite social media.