“Well, the kids are ready to go back to school,” a coworker said last Monday.
“Ready to go back to school?,” I questioned in surprise. “Didn’t summer break start at Memorial Day?” I asked, making sure I understood him.
“Yes. But since break started they’ve been at the barn by 6:30 every morning, and now with no homework we’re working outside until at least 10:00 every night. I leave a list every day before I come to the office. Life was easier when they got to go to school from 8:00 – 3:00,” he explained.
I couldn’t help but laugh. I’ve been in those shoes, or boots, before.
Summer “break” isn’t nearly as relaxing for farm kids as it might be for those without livestock to feed, barns to clean out or hay to bale.
What Pool Membership?
Farm kids typically don’t have a pool membership, but rather a creek, pond or river to cool off in when the day is long and hot. Granted, they usually have to wade through thistles, rocks and maybe even nettles to get to the place where the cool water flows, but that’s still better than packing a pool bag and warm Capri Suns to suck on chlorine water for an afternoon.
Also, farm kids don’t understand all the recent hype about stock tank pools. They’ve been cooling off in stock tanks for as long as they can remember! The water was never that clear, though…
What Is Sleeping In?
This concept isn’t new, but it’s somewhat foreign to farm kids. When farm kids hear others talk about sleeping until 10:00 – or even noon – they think to themselves, “My day is half over by then!” or, “Why in the world would you start your day in the hottest hour?”
Farm kids would probably love the chance to sleep in just once, but they’re afraid they’d miss the best sunrise and they also prefer to have certain jobs done before it gets too hot.
Homework Takes on Entirely New Meaning
Even though school is out, farm kids still have homework. It comes in the form of lists. Daily or weekly, farm kids are given lists from their parents and/or grandparents of deliverables they must accomplish. This isn’t just “home” work – this is also barn work, yard work, car work, field work and farm work. This makes a book report sound like, well, a day at the pool.
Two-a-Days? More Like Twelve-a-Days
Farm kids might participate in fall sports, which kick of two-a-day practices during summer break. But farm kids don’t get much of a rest in between these two-a-days, because when they’re not at practice they can be found baling hay, cleaning out the barn, carrying buckets, building fence, cleaning out and bedding stalls, and more. So they might participate in two-a-day practices, but their hardest workout actually begins when they leave the gym.
Farm kids understand early in life the value of hard work because once their two-and-a-half month shift of hard labor is finally over, it’s time to go back to school.
Happy summer “break” to all the farm kids out there.
We’re glad to have you home!