Below is something I posted years ago, and it popped up in my “Memories” on farcebook. I post it here as a reminder – life is dangerous, you won’t get out alive. How you live and learning to live to the fullest is the important thing.
The thoughts below were provoked by an accident in farming country. A well meaning friend responded to news of the accident in a “I’d NEVER let MY kid do that” way. He was raised in San Francisco, far from rural America. And has absorbed much of the overprotection culture inherent in that bed of socialistic “We’ll save you from life” society.
Life will kill you. That is something that a farmer tends to know as they are surrounded by raw reality. It is common for folks raised in the city to not understand the realities of life on the farm. Me? I’ve seen both. Give me a farm kid any day over a coddled, over protected, sheltered from life city kid.
Although we were raised in a small town and not on the farm, we had the run of the woods. We carried machetes and knives and guns and fishing line and hooks and slingshots and other ways to get ourselves into (and out) of trouble. We got stung, cut, bit, banged up and bruised – and learned that stupid hurts. We also learned that life is full of opportunities and risks – which essentially are the same thing. We saw life begin. We saw life end. We were not sheltered from the realities of life and I believe we are better for it.
The city has its own risks. They tend to mangle kids in different ways – often worse than getting run over by a tractor. After all, there are things worse than living free and dying young. Daily we deal with folks who have been harmed by well meaning parents who set them in front of a TV and let the idiot tube “educate” them. And yet folks still do the same thing – letting strangers program and teach their kids things which will harm them over the long haul. Instant gratification, borrow to the hilt, fast food nutrition and 30 minute (counting commercials) dramas in which everything gets wrapped up nice and neat in time for the next bit of fluff to air are the order of the day. At no time are they taught that one must plan for the long term, putting in daily effort so that the harvest will be sufficient to see them through the rest of the year.
Living on a farm one learns responsibility and sometimes one learns the hard way that mistakes are costly. The number of people injured by machinery or livestock is amazing. Folks in the city often don’t realize the amount of blood, sweat and tears that go into raising that Porterhouse steak or Idaho potato or Cesar salad.
I don’t mean this as a flame at you, my friend – not by a long shot. I do intend it as bit of parenting advice. Don’t let your kids grow up so sheltered from risk that they never learn to really live.
The moment that stands out in my mind most of all was the time just “the guys” went to the river. A swift, piranha filled Amazon basin river running over jagged rocks. The “old men” stayed in camp mostly while us kids ran up and down the river, shooting game, catching fish, doing somersaults off of cliffs into the water below, floating tubes down the rapids and generally putting ourselves at risk of life and limb. No mom’s around to scream “Be CAREFUL!” – just the freedom to run and explore and enjoy the sheer exhilaration of being in the beautiful outdoors. A few short years later a couple of young men were lost down stream from there in the Tocantins river – their canoe overturned and they didn’t make it to shore. It could have been us.
Life will kill you. It’s a matter of time. How we live life determines who we are and what we become, in this world and the next. On the farm you learn to get up, dust yourself off and get back on that horse. May the Lord grant peace to the family who’s suffering sparked this little essay. as they deal with the results of this accident. My prayer is that the costs of medical treatment will not drive them to bankruptcy. Most family farmers can not afford medical insurance. I know the community is behind them as well. Because that’s how it is in farming country. Folks know their neighbors and often share the burdens brought on by life. Thank God for farmers and their families who are unfortunately a rapidly shrinking part of our society.