Shelli Mader: Time in the city shows value of hard work
Sometimes I wonder why I want to live in the country. In reality, living in town is a much easier existence — especially since we are just renting.
The number of chores to do around here is relatively small. Other than the unavoidable and thankless tasks of dishes and laundry that are common in any home, there is isn’t much hard physical work that needs done.
My kids have a pretty relaxing life. They do some chores – things like cleaning their room, straightening the house and feeding the dog — but other than that, not much is required of them.
When I was a kid it seemed like there was always some kind of hard outside work that I needed to do. Whether it was carrying buckets to feed calves, mowing grass, driving the grain cart for wheat harvest, or helping my dad clean the shop, there was work to do and my family often did it together. At the time I didn’t like all that work, but now I can see what a gift it was. My brothers and sister and I all grew up to be hard workers.
I didn’t realize that I was shortchanging my kids in the hard work department until we helped my parents with branding a few weeks ago.
When we got to my folks’ house that Saturday morning they had already started branding. My kids quickly jumped in to help. My 10-year-old daughter learned how to give vaccinations and my 7-year-old back-poured the calves and acted as an all-around gopher.
The skies were dark that morning so we all worked as fast as we could. Unfortunately, we weren’t quite fast enough and some hard, painful hail hit before we could run for cover. Thankfully the hail didn’t last too long and didn’t cause much damage.
After a quick 2 p.m. lunch, we continued working for the rest of the day. After we finished the calves we moved on to worming and back-pouring the cows.
The kids spent the whole day outside working in the chilly, muddy conditions and — surprisingly — at the end of the day they were happy. Truly happier than I had seen them in a long time.
That made me realize something that I hadn’t consciously thought before. Work is a gift. There is something about starting a job, pushing through the discomfort and seeing a task through that is so rewarding. In our modern lifestyles of comfort, it is easy to forget that hard work, not the pursuit of comfort or more ways to make life easier, is really what is going to enrich our lives.
I’m a definitely not in favor of living life full of back-breaking work like it was in the 1800s — I like all of our modern conveniences — but I do think hard work needs to be embraced more and not shied away from.
So, Mader kids, watch out. More chores are coming your way. You can thank me later when you are a hard-working happy adult. ❖
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