The advantages of living in the countryside for kids
Kids hardly ever recognize the gains and advantages of their upbringing while they are young. After all, there’s a reason why they say hindsight is 2040. The majority of us would probably concur that the instant the malt-o-meal hardened in the bowl hardly seemed like a lesson in obedient behavior, modesty, or stewardship. Reflection is a skill that we only acquire via instruction and as we get older and wiser. Therefore, it is not surprising that stories about my childhood spent on the farm are filled with the usual complaining and mutiny. It wasn’t until I was a little older and could truly compare my childhood to that of my classmates and peers that I truly understood the teachings of farm life. I was truly blessed! While I have enjoyed traveling to cities all over the world (there are many enticing aspects of city life), there is something unique about the experience of growing up on a farm.
In order to raise our children in this way—as farm kids—Casey and I decided to build our homestead here, in this part of my grandparents’ property. We intended to provide them with experiences similar to those I had as a young person, complete with responsibility, fresh air, and muddy boots. People are moving more and more to rural areas across the country as they realize the many advantages of this straightforward lifestyle that we frequently take for granted. I urge those of you who envision this way of life for yourself and their families to take the plunge and hope for the following advantages for their children and wider family:
I recall having a discussion with my father not long after Elaina entered kindergarten. He advised me to give my daughters as much independence as I could at a young age. I’ve used both pieces of advice from a close friend who taught her daughters “everyday habits” rather than giving them money as an allowance. Daily routines should involve brushing one’s own teeth and hair, making one’s bed, gathering one’s laundry, feeding animals, and reading one’s Bible. The girls initially assisted with anything they could, and as time goes on, we start to entrust them with more responsibilities, even though we are fully aware that they might struggle with some of them. They frequently take us by surprise. In order for my students to develop their confidence, I wanted to provide them with obstacles. As a parent, I want my daughters to grow courageous and self-assured as they take on increasing amounts of responsibility and difficulty.
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The girls are totally responsible for feeding, watering, and caring for their project livestock, which is how we mostly carry out this final work through 4H. In order to set goals, monitor progress, and cultivate financial responsibility, they also keep records.
Esteem for life and knowledge
The culture of an agricultural lifestyle comes with many moral and ethical lessons. Honest living and the importance of taking advice from one’s elders are still promoted in rural areas. My daughters respect grownups in their lives and look to them as the experts on vital issues like responsible land management, cooking, and animal care. They are able to critically evaluate media messages, particularly those that deal with expanding food and environmental challenges, thanks to their respect for and awareness of them.
The children get knowledge about caring for a range of farm animals on the farm, as well as appreciating wild wildlife like grizzly bears and mountain lions. We’ve had the crucial conversations about birds and bees in relation to raising cattle and the environment. There aren’t many surprises here, so if you think our chicken eggs would hatch without a rooster, beware—my nine-year-old won’t hesitate to correct your biological misconceptions.
On a related issue, my children are learning about egg hatching and how infant animals, including chicks and all other young animals, are vulnerable and need special attention. They witness firsthand how a seed is built, the wonder of DNA, and the value of careful selection. They are aware of the honor and duty involved in taking care of a small creature that is fully dependent on us for survival.
Sadly, they then discover that dying is both essential and unavoidable. No matter how many times we are exposed to it, it never truly becomes any simpler. It’s not meant to. But it is beneficial for our kids if they understand that death and grief are a part of life. Children can develop a baseline for coping with future loss even from the anguish of losing a beloved animal. The girls are frequently questioned about how to raise a 4H hog. They choose a piglet from Pop’s barn a few days after it was born knowing that it will be killed at the end of the summer. I got it. Although it may appear harsh, my daughters are quite appreciative of their food. They value the life that was given to support the animal and their own, and they are forming an ethic for the stewardship of the resources that are under our control.
Problem-solving and Creativity:
Living close to nature is undoubtedly a huge benefit of living in a rural area. The capacity to interact with nature is crucial for one’s health and wellbeing. We thank God every day for the lovely backyard. In addition, I observe my daughters’ creativity blossom as a result of their inspiration from their surroundings. Numerous studies highlight the value of playtime and boredom for children’s development. Evie adores the flowers in the garden; she enjoys painting them and even purchased a camera to take pictures of them. She established her own company last year and planted a cut garden, from which she creates beautiful bouquets by hand to sell at the farmer’s market. In the tall hay stacks in the barn, the kids use their engineering skills to construct forts or make-believe castles. They’ve frequently had to solve issues on their own, like the time Elaina’s UTV became stuck in a puddle of mud on the farm. Either she had to figure out how to “unstick” the car on her own, or else she had to walk the mile back to her house. She doesn’t carry a phone, so she had to think and decide how to solve this issue. This, in my opinion, is crucial if we want to help our children grow up to be independent adults who can survive in the world without us. Of course, I was using my binoculars to keep an eye on her the entire time…
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