HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
June 4, 2007, Herald Journal

Allow children to play, discover and explore


There’s a big, vast world out there ready to be explored and discovered.

It is important, among all of those activities that are important that we allow our children time to play, discover and learn.

Growing up as a farm girl I had my own vast world to explore and lessons to learn on the farm.

Those lessons, explorations and discoveries molded and shaped me. I learned about nature and our connection and partnership with it.

Farmers truly work with nature and the wonders of it, growing and harvesting bountiful crops, as well as bringing new life in the form of animals into the world.

Farmers are dependent on the weather and its conditions. Most farmers (or at least my dad) truly watch and study the weather and do not fear it.

When we had inclement weather in the spring and summer, our family would head into the milk house portion of the barn for shelter. Although my father has passed away, I can still see him venturing out to observe the weather conditions, watch the sky, feel the wind and determine which way the wind was blowing in order to make his own weather forecast.

My father continued to do this until he could no longer do it. When he lived with us in his last years, I remember finding him many times on our front porch, observing the sky, testing the wind and watching our small windmill to again determine which way the wind was blowing from.

My dad was not fearful of the weather. It was like he was just a part of it, a partner with it. Weather patterns are just part of the natural ebb and flow of things. It was God’s way of saying, “I’m in charge.” We cannot control it. I believe my dad believed this, and I do too.

So it is, I too enjoy watching the sky and am not fearful when there is inclement weather heading our way.

Living on a farm also lends its way to watching new life come into the world in the form of baby animals and sometimes even having to help that new life enter the world.

I remember my dad helping a cow deliver its calf that was breech. There was a rope tied to the calf’s legs and my dad was pulling while the mama cow was bellowing. With all my might I too helped pull the calf out.

Many life lessons I learned on a farm without anyone telling me. You just discovered the worldly lessons as you grew up each day. I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything in the world, and I realize now how all of these day-to-day experiences shaped my life.

Because growing up on a farm requires chores from sun-up to sun-down and more, taking long family trips was really out of the question. A farm offers its own getaways in the form of outsheds, barns, and acres of land. We had acres of play land and our own vacations spots to explore everyday.

An article in “Farm & Ranch Living”, April/May, 1999 tells how a farmer sees the big picture in his fields.

The article was written by Michael Roberts, Provo, Utah. Roberts, who is married to a farmer’s daughter, imagines what his father-in-law is thinking when he meanders slowly across his land.

Surely, he is checking on the status of things and on the duties yet to be done, but most likely there is something more profound that fill his thoughts, namely how life on a farm is so different from anywhere else.

He marks time by seasons, by the height and color of the crops, what animals are engaging in, and whether the birds are heading north or south.

A farmer “doesn’t just work on his farm, he lives his life there.”

So let us remember this with our own children. Of course, not all children grow up on farms with acreage and buildings. In fact, that number has dwindled greatly, but let us allow our children to explore and learn and play in healthy environments, and let them be children.

May children be able to explore and discover all those small simple things that are great, and in allowing them to do this, we are showing them that they, too, are great!