Monday, April 16, 2012

What's Wrong with this Picture?

(You can right click if you want to look closely at men wearing tool belts and carrying hammers)

Or should I say these pictures? Hmmm, a farmer in his sixties, his son in his twenties, out working on the land, building new fence where the deer took it out over the winter. Alan has worked beside his dad since he was a wee lad. Along the way he learned how to do an amazing number of things from working on machines to driving them to doctoring cows and planting and harvesting crops. He learned to know our land...where the boundaries are, what fields have wet holes, which ones grow what crop the best and the myriad things a man (or woman) needs to know to be a farmer. The girls can feed and doctor and milk and raise calves and more other jobs than I can even think of to list. All three of them choose the bulls to make the matings on their cows. They could among them start running the place tomorrow and do it well.

There was a lot to learn while they were growing up. Each and every single farm is different from every other one in the world. Heck, each field is different from the one next to it. Farming can be and is taught in college and at seminars and all sorts of such places, but the kids who grow up learning by doing bring more to the table than students who didn't benefit from farm background.

Funny how these on the farm lessons translate so well out in the "real" world. All three of our farm-grown kids are valued out in the public workplace for the skills they learned and the attitudes and work ethic they bring with them. Across the USA thousands of farm and ranch families are raising kids who work along side them every day and have been since the dawn of agriculture, which is pretty much since we started planting seeds in the ground with sticks and rocks. 

Funny how our government in its infinite wisdom wants all this to end. Sadly kids have been hurt and killed in farming accidents over the years and the Department of Labor wants farmers to stop allowing our children to help us on the farm to ensure that kids don't risk getting hurt.

The way the new regulations are written, when our own grand babies come along, if we are  still farming or the kids are farming after us, those impressionable children, who could grow up to be the next generation of land-learners, food producers, capable, hard-working, useful folks, will be prevented by law from doing so. 

They won't be allowed to feed bottle calves, ride horses, show calves at the fair, participate in 4-H livestock projects, or much of anything but sit in front of the TV, cocooned in bubble wrap and safe from everything but drugs and drivebys.  

This safe-from-all-possible-danger mindset of the government, if it is going to take away our lifestyle and our right to raise our kids the way we think is right, will be a terrible thing for farm families and for the whole nation. How will anyone learn to manage the land and grow our food, if we are not allowed to teach our children? How many generations of know-how will be lost, ending with the generation that is farming now if we can't let them learn what we do?

 It is not as if farming is the only danger to kids. If farm kids are no longer allowed to work on the land with their folks, then NO kids should be allowed to ride in cars until they are 18, or play baseball, or football, or go swimming, ride ATVs or any other activities wherein they might come to harm. As I contemplated this story over the past week I saw headline after headline about children killed or injured in everyday activities like those above, or murdered. Now there is an all too common cause of death to children. Why don't we outlaw that? Oh, wait.....

Here are some links to stories on this topic:

Leave our kids alone
Proposed labor changes
FB Video on the Changes

And here is a link to the Congressional directory. Call, write, email your representatives if you don't want this to become the law of the land. NYFB has an easy to use ELobby form, which will send letters to our particular representatives on their site if you are a member. I used that Saturday.

This issue needs immediate attention from every one of us, whether we simply appreciate the values of farm families, or hope to raise our children and grandchildren the way we were raised. Please, if you want to teach your grandchildren to do what you do make those calls. Thanks


Anonymous said...

You make an excellent case. I had not thought of sports, very good point. linda

Cathy said...

This post should be read across the nation.

"This safe-from-all-possible-danger mindset of the government, if it is going to take away our lifestyle and our right to raise our kids the way we think is right, will be a terrible thing for farm families and for the whole nation."

Let's get down to brass tacks:

The government is slowly encroaching on us and taking away our LIBERTY.

It's enslavement by a thousand incremental regulations that slowly bleed our liberties away.

Our ancestors intended this to be a "sweet land of liberty" (imagine that line in a North Korean song) . . . not a land of bubble-wrapped children.

Makes my blood boil.

Anonymous said...

My first thought on what's wrong with the pictures is that your son is not wearing a shirt. It weren't that warm yesterday!

Then I continued to read, and it made my blood boil, too.

As Karen DeCoster said in posting on the LRC blog about the "Thudguard" helmet you can put on your baby when he's learning to walk, the government is creating a culture of fear. This is not an accident or the plans of do-gooders gone wrong. It's a deliberate plan for the government to accumulate more power. As Hillary and Emmanuel like to say, "Never waste a good crisis."

Look at the freedoms we have let them take away as a result of 9/11. They read our emails, molest us at the airport, and privacy is a thing of the past - and why? We have a greater chance of getting struck by lightning - twice! - than of getting hurt in a terrorist attack. But the government created that culture of fear so we choose to let them "protect" us.

As Benjamin Franklin once said, "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

We are a nation of wimps, and as a result, will wind up safe and protected by our nanny government.


Earl said...

If farmers weren't so busy feeding the world, they could go to Washington DC and weed the unwanted out of office. It would be a wonderful civic action.

Where do those fools come from?

Terry and Linda said...

I'm sending your post to everyone on my mailing list. You said it very well, very well indeed!

Thank you so much for putting into words what we all feel and think but have a hard time getting it out well.


Jan said...

Very eloquent and convincing post.It seems like government is everywhere destroying everything that is meaningful in our lives.

Gun Shy Tourist said...

Yep...giant agri-business with the help of their political cronies in D.C. are doing all they can to eliminate family farms:

Gun Shy Tourist said...

Yep...giant agri-business with the help of their political cronies in D.C. are doing all they can to eliminate family farms:

Jinglebob said...

It makes my blood boil. Kids, and many more of them at that, are hurt or killed in the towns and cities across this country every day, and they are not learning any knowledgeable skills while doing so. I think them city slickers are just sick and tired of these good country kids showing up and out shining them, so they figured out why these kids are this way, (growing up being useful and learning useful skills and responsibilities on the farm/ranch ) and they figured out how to try and stop it. SOB"S. Please excuse my language, but it really gets my blood boiling.

threecollie said...

Linda, it is horrible when something happens to a child, but to single out farming the way they are doing seems more like an attack on our lifestyle and family culture than a true safety mission

Cathy, you are absolutely right and the worst part is we often embrace these measures thinking they somehow improve our lot. there is legislation in Congress to stop this before it goes any farther. Hopefully it will be enacted.

AKA, you are so right! And as I said to Linda, too often we even embrace these intrusions thinking they will actually do us some good. I think the Constitution should be taught from kindergarten on...people seem to have forgotten it entirely

Earl, used to be Congress was full of farmers...there are still a few there, but they seem to quickly lose sight of who sent them.

Linda, thank you! To me farm kids are the most important crop we to take on the world or take our place growing food. How dare the government interfere!

Jan, thanks. Every time I buy lettuce I think about the San Joaquin valley and what was done there in the name of fish. Stupid, malicious and wrong...not to mention un-American

GST, thanks for visiting and for taking time to comment. I think an independent thinker is a scary thing for Washington and a lot of rural folks fit that description

JB, I knew you would get it! I thought of you several times while I was writing it...your kids and grand kids are the perfect example of being raised to know how to work the land, the animals, get the job done and be infinitely valuable to our country. I am going to be linking to some legislation against this that is being proposed. Hopefully we can all get behind it and squash this before it squashes us.