Wonders of life | TheFencePost.com

Wonders of life

No matter how many children you are around it is such fun to watch them develop, grow and learn. We have two grown sons and between them, eight grandchildren, the youngest of whom is 2. We notice that the old adage "out of sight, out of mind" doesn't seem to hold true after a child is, say, a couple of weeks old. Watching them solve a simple problem is mesmerizing. When one of the kids was a toddler and there was a makeshift barricade put up by his sister, he just went around to another doorway and came into the room. He figured it out.

It's fun to see a little neighbor girl take items out of her toy bag in church, pick out a book, look at it and turn it around so the pictures are right side up. That of course is early reading, something very close to an author's heart. It is a puzzle though what students do in the first grade these days. Before they get to first grade, many go to preschool. Among other skills, a child is expected to be able to recite and read the alphabet to get into preschool. Kindergarteners learn how to count money, tell time as well as become quite proficient at reading. A teacher told me kindergartners now do the work that used to be expected of second graders. Is this just another way to get our kids to grow up seemingly too fast?

Yet our history tells of the young cowpoke who left home to fend for himself at the age of 11 or 12, some even younger. Or a young one at that age might have worked to help support his family. In our current culture these 'tween years are a no-man's land for many youth. Farm kids always have jobs and chores, but under the law, kids in town can't work at a "real" job until they are of a certain age, 15 or so. It is the 'tween years when work ethic can really be caught, not just taught, and even volunteering can contribute to their development. If they don't learn how to work in their youth, they may be good candidates for not developing a work ethic.

They can work — and learn to help people at the same time. Start with the grandmothers or elderly neighbors and friends. Ask what they need done. Or pick out something specific and offer to do it. Maybe it's washing windows, tilling the garden, raking leaves or other chores. Learn how homeowners want the job done. That teaches how to follow directions and do as good a job as possibly can be done. These activities can serve as references when the time comes to apply for a regular job.

“It’s fun to see a little neighbor girl take items out of her toy bag in church, pick out a book, look at it and turn it around so the pictures are right side up. That of course is early reading, something very close to an author’s heart.”

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Kids in the city may have to work harder at finding job experience but they will be rewarded for it in the future, just as farm kids are. ❖