Take your child to work day
Back in 1992, the MS. Foundation for Women in New York City, guided by Gloria Steinem, created, “Take your daughter to work day.” Ten years later they included boys. Their website says the Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work program goes beyond “job shadowing” and lets the students discover, how to envision the future, balance work and family life and begin steps toward their goals in a hands-on environment. The program is for 4th-7th graders and is dedicated to developing innovative strategies and research-based activities in informal educational programs . . .”
Who knew? Farm and ranch kids live “informal educational programs,” every day of their lives.
As a typical farm kid, I started “driving” when I was 4. Sure, what I really did was sit in the driver’s seat and sometimes turn a wheel, just because I could, while my dad was throwing small square bales of hay out of the pickup box. I’ve had 2-year-old children hold a bottle while a calf sucked out the milk. These youngsters learn by watching and are given jobs that are age appropriate. Feeding the dog or cat might be a beginning chore. Gathering eggs could be for the following year. Parents or older siblings tag along as they learn to do the job and check on them so they know about reliability. Once a child realizes it is her job to feed the dog and if she doesn’t, the dog can’t eat, she will understand the importance.
As these young folks grow, they are entrusted with more. Real driving might start by following in the pickup — just across a big field — while dad or mom moves the tractor. This saves them time and energy so they can accomplish more in a day. In due time that same young one is following machinery home from the field on a gravel road. Although a few years pass, it seems like it’s so soon that the girl is driving a vehicle by herself on that road. Calving time, sorting calves, branding and moving cattle all have age-appropriate jobs for kids.
Four-wheelers and side-by-sides are often put to good use for work. The kids aren’t very old when they can drive to grandma’s house and become even more independent. They begin to learn the rules of the road. By the time farm and ranch kids are able to get their learner’s permit at age 14, they have more than likely already driven many miles which makes them more experienced — and hopefully better — drivers than others that age.
Farm and ranch kids are not included nor recognized by this foundation and I would encourage every ag producer to flood their FaceBook page: Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Foundation, with photos of our rural kids and grandkids on or before Thursday, April 25, 2019. If you can’t post, then email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s show them how farmers and ranchers take their sons and daughters to work. ❖