All of us kids were raised on the farm and, while I (Jessie) don’t want to speak for the other 5, I don’t think any of us would have it any other way. We were raised in a way that gave us freedom and confidence. We were allowed to go off and learn on our own. Safety always came first. Knowing danger spots and how to be safe in any situation was drilled into us. But we had space to run and play and grow. We were encouraged to learn new things, apply our skills, and become independent. We were given room to make our own mistakes and find our own solutions.
We learned from the school of life. At young ages we experienced creatures coming into this world and leaving it. Early on we were able to appreciate the cycle of life and that every thing must come to an end. We gained an early understanding of death and therefore an appreciation for life.
We tamed kittens and sheared sheep and bottle fed calves. We could drive, ride, and tie a gate shut well before our teenage years. We spent our early mornings and late nights doing chores and checking cows. We got our fair share of saddle sores, cuts, scrapes, and even a few broken bones. We crashed our bikes and fell off our horses, learning lessons along the way.
Being raised on the farm gave us a work ethic that was learned through watching our father’s passion and dedication to the land and animals firsthand. It gave us problem solving skills – the kind gained from struggling for forty minutes to close that too tight gate, that must be closed. It gave us the independence to move away and start our own careers and families. It gave us the compassion to lend a helping hand to those in need.
To the outside world it may seem that our childhoods were lessened by the amount of work we did; but to us it was the perfect way to grow up. For that we will always be thankful for what being raised on the farm gave us.