I’m not sure our kids know they are growing up on a farm. Ever since they can remember there have been animals, lots of space and plenty of dirt. This is just what home is. My husband and I lived in New York City for years before they were born. He grew up in Granby, but struck out to the big city to escape the small town.
I always had dreams of city life and loved every minute of the 14 years I lived there. We talk about our life there often, so the kids do know about cities. They have fun when we visit. But forget the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty. It’s escalators, revolving doors, the subway and (gasp) TV in the taxis that amaze my country mice when we go to New York. For now, I’m happy these things amaze them. They don’t understand how you wouldn’t have space to compost, or that you can’t grow much of your own food. They don’t understand the oasis that is Central Park because they have 50 acres of their own to explore every day.
Farm life is giving our children lots of great life lessons and building character. Did you ever dig a four-foot deep hole when you were nine? Talk about perseverance! Did you watch piglets or goats being born when you were five? Compassion! Were you and your brothers allowed in the back woods to explore by yourself, not knowing that mom could see through the still-bare spring foliage? Common sense! Earned money by cleaning stalls by the time you were seven? Industrious!
I suppose there are other ways to learn these character traits, but I’m happy our boys are learning these things now, before they need them for real when they’re on their own. Best case scenario: they grow up, move to the city for a while, appreciate the beauty of where they spent their childhood and move back to start the cycle right over again.