Last night I was in the greenhouse holding Kenton. It was dark and there was a light rain pattering on the plastic.I started thinking about all of the things that this little man will learn from growing up on a farm that he will never learn at school. He may only be seven months old, but he has already seen so much.
Kenton will grow up with animals around all the time. God willing, there will never be a time when there are no animals on this farm. For him normal will be being followed around the pasture by a herd of nosy goats or always having a farm cat nearby. That might be a messy proposition (because animals make messes) but he will learn to respect every one of those creatures from a day old chick all the way up to the largest boss cow. He will know that every creature on this Earth deserves to be treated kindly.
Kenton will understand compassion. He will watch his dad euthanize a suffering animal. He will hear his mama worry about that rooster she “should have butchered two years ago” when she can’t find him in the barnyard and she knows he was hurt. He will learn to treat wounds and illnesses in his animals. He will learn that it is best to show just a little more kindness than is necessary.
Kenton will understand hard work. He will see us load chickens early in the morning and pull calves late at night. He will shovel stalls and clean the chicken house. He will fix equipment and build fence. He will throw hay bales in the heat of summer. He will help me market our products so that we can maybe make enough money to carry on the farming tradition.
Most importantly, Kenton will learn the value of family. He will learn how we can lean on each other in times of joy and in times of crisis. We will work side by side together and grow as a team. He will always know that his mama and dad are there for him to help guide him in whatever his dreams may be.
I know that whether or not Kenton decides he wants to farm when he grows up, he will take the lessons he has learned on our farm with him. While I hope that he wants to carry on what we have started, I know that I cannot make my dreams for him his own. Given that Jonathan and I have a combined 38 years of classroom education, we know the value of what you learn in a classroom. We also know that there are some things that cannot be taught in a classroom and we feel confident that what Kenton learns from growing up on our little farm will be some of the most valuable lessons he will experience.