It is disturbing, to me, to see the public schools that no longer offer FFA programs, there are several in north Texas. There are also area 4-H groups that are dwindling because of lack of support and now our country’s labor department wants to ban farm chores.
The article, Rural kids, parents angry about Labor Dept. rule banning farm chores, found on The Daily Caller explains many kids and parents are upset about this new bill; a bill that would no longer allow kids, under a certain age, to be involved in certain areas of agriculture. Americans should be upset and should make sure their voice is heard.
I grew up showing horses, and yes I had to get up early to feed, clean out stalls and take care of all the other chores involved in owning horses, dogs, chickens etc. I had to make a choice of what was important to me; I couldn’t stay out all night, getting into trouble or just hanging out, because while a lot of my friends were waking up Saturday morning recovering from whatever trouble they got into the night before, I was usually on the way to a horse show. These shows were a family affair; time my mom and I spent together, getting myself and my horse ready, these were cherished times and memories that no one can ever take away from me.
When I became an adult, married and had my own child, he also showed, from time he was in 3rd grade until he graduated high school. We raised sheep and rabbits on a small farm, and yes there were chores; and because of other activities he was involved in, there were certain chores that had to be taken care of early in the morning before school. He was still a straight A student and was very involved in church and sports; we did many of these things as a family, we all worked together taking care of chores, picking out the best stock and traveling all over the country to various shows.
While taking care of these farm chores, he learned discipline; by learning how to handle himself in the show ring. He learned to manage a business; by setting prices, advertising and marketing his stock. Skills used during an interview were learned by answering questions from the judges in the show ring and talking to potential customers. He also learned to mentor other kids in an effort to carry on what he had been taught.
In a world that is run by video games, texting and social networking, the social skills gained from his experiences are one of the most valuable tools learned through his experiences. The skills he learned out there on his farm, building a foundation with his family, are life skills that will carry him through many situations in his life, just as they have for me.
What will happen to our country if we allow them to ban farm chores? Not all kids have the privilege of growing up on a farm and for many that do live on a farm; if they had a choice to make, would not change a thing. Many of these life experiences cannot be learned in the classroom; will more of our children become more involved in just sitting on the couch all day or worse, finding other trouble to get into? There is already so much talk about obesity in America, so for the kids not involved in other sports, what’s left for them? This is a serious situation, as I notice more and more, that agriculture is being pushed out of our lives. We have to keep agriculture alive in our country; because this it is the one industry that is involved in every aspect of our everyday lives.
Farming is an important part of our lives and it is important for everyone to staying informed. I encourage everyone to ask about FFA programs at their school or check into your local 4-H group. As a country struggling to stay together we cannot let these organizations fold.
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