Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Anything but Lazy Days of Summer

The lazy, hazy days of summer. Well, that is not quite true at our house this summer. It may be hazy but summer, for my kids, is anything but lazy. In fact, my kids will tell you that going back to school seems like a vacation.

Now before you call child services on me, let me explain that they chose to be this busy, and I am proud of them because of that choice. You see while summer means sleeping in for some of their classmates, at our house, summer means 4-H livestock projects and early morning chores before it gets hot.

My kids realize that their animals would rather eat in the cool morning hours. Yes, I am sure that they would rather be asleep themselves but they have learned that farmers and ranchers put the needs of their livestock ahead of their own comfort. The rest of the morning routine includes washing, exercising, and watering their animals before they (the kids) ever eat breakfast. The rest of the day is spent checking on those same animals at regular intervals to make sure they have water and are staying cool.

That is why I have to chuckle every time I hear another parent complain about their kids spending the whole summer sleeping in and playing video games. I guess it also makes me proud to know that my kids (who are no different than any other farm kid I know) realize that as farmers and ranchers we always put our animals first. Now don't get me wrong, my kids are far from perfect and I am not bragging. However, I wish that every child could have that same responsibility of caring for livestock, I really think it would change our society.

My kids also have no illusions about the purpose of those same animals. They realize that their livestock's main purpose is to provide a safe, wholesome source of protein. But they also realize that while those animals are in their care, the safety, comfort and health of those animals are their number one concern. So as your alarm goes off at 7:00, rest assured that some 4-Her has been out caring for their livestock during these busy, hazy days of summer.

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