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Good work ethic is taught at homeGood work ethic is taught at home

Two Hearts, One Harvest: Mike and Sheilah Reskovac’s two young boys are learning the value of hard work this summer.

3 Min Read
A man and his two young sons move hay bales
YOUNG WORKERS: Mike Reskovac and his two sons, Cole and Caleb, gather straw bales on the farm on a recent day.Sheilah Reskovac

As I was scrolling through Facebook one morning while drinking my morning tea, a post grabbed my attention: It was an old picture of teenagers baling hay.

The post talked about how young people don’t want to work hard, and how today’s teenagers don’t know what manual labor is. I didn’t really pause; I just kept scrolling.

But then I looked out my kitchen window as I heard a four-wheeler. At the same time, a vehicle pulled in and the passenger got out and waved as the van pulled away. Our summer help had arrived for the day.

Earlier this spring, we were approached by not one, but two local boys — 12 and 13 years old. They were both looking for a summer job, and surprisingly, they did not know each other.

We decided that we had enough weed-whacking and other small, odd jobs around the place to keep them both busy for a couple of mornings each week. Besides, the other boy who helped us out had graduated from weed-whacking to operating equipment, and he had recently gotten another job. We figured we’d best start breaking someone else in.

I looked away from the window and smiled to myself. It’s true that not a lot of young people know what hard work is, but there are still plenty of them out there who do. Some even come looking for it.

We need to give young kids like this a chance to do jobs and develop their skills and work ethic. I sometimes cringe when Mike says it’s time to pay them, but I know that things are getting done that neither Mike nor I have time for.

Later that day, I took another Facebook break and saw another post. This one did make me stop and think. I don’t remember who wrote it or the exact wording, but it was a blog by another farm mom. The heading read: “Farm kids aren’t born wanting to work; it is something that is learned.” That hit home.

As a child, I remember days when I just wanted to be inside playing or watching TV, but I was always told I had to do my chores. By the time I was a teenager, I knew it was a treat to have extra time to do something I wanted, or that I had to get my stuff done before I could enjoy a book or catch up on a TV show.

I can see the same type of behavior in our boys. This summer, they decided that they wanted a basketball hoop. We told them that they would need to help work and do chores to earn the money for it. They have been working unloading straw, keeping the cows fed and watered, and other jobs. They’ve combined tooth fairy and birthday money, and by the time you read this, they will probably have their basketball hoop.

Some days it takes some pushing and prodding to get them to do the work, but once they start, they do a great job and seem to love whatever they are doing. Between all the “Do I have to’s” and “I don’t want to’s,” I have also heard, “We’re farmers; we have to do our work. Come on, let’s just do it so we can get money for our basketball hoop.” And, “Welp, that’s what farmers do!”

It makes me smile when I catch these little snippets, seeing how proud they are of themselves for doing a good job. It is worth every minute of teaching them love for this life.

Some kids will never know what hard work is, or what it’s like to have to work for something you want. We’re blessed this summer to not only have two of our own boys learning this, but also helping guide our summer help to learn these things, too.

Sheilah and Mike Reskovac and their sons farm near Uniontown, Pa. Check out all of their "Two Hearts, One Harvest" blogs

About the Author(s)

Mike and Sheilah Reskovac


Mike and Sheilah Reskovac are a young farming couple just starting their second year of marriage and farming together, near Uniontown, Pa. He's a first-gen farmer who met his fourth-gen farmer-bride online, and married in November 2012.

Mike grew up next to and working on his neighbor's Fayette County dairy farm through high school and college. After graduating from Penn State University in 2002 with a B.S. in Ag Systems Management, he worked as a manager at Tractor Supply stores for three years.

In 2005, he began farming his neighbor's land. Today, he and Sheilah farm 900 acres of corn and soybeans, plus do custom planting and harvesting.

Mike is president of the Pennsylvania Corn Growers Association. He also serves on the local Penn State Extension Board and is a Farm Service Agency county committee member.

Sheilah grew up on her family's Indiana County dairy farm. She graduated from DuBois Business College in 2008 with an associate's degree in Specialized Business and Medical Assistance, then worked for DuBois Regional Medical Center for four years. She also volunteered as a firefighter and EMT for the local fire company.

Since moving to Fayette County, Sheilah has been chief bookkeeper and farm assistant, along with taking classes at Penn State Fayette for Nursing. She enjoys “taking care of” groundhog problems, raking hay and mowing cornstalks.

While she enjoys cooking and baking, Mike enjoys eating the goods. Both enjoy hunting, attending concerts and county fairs, and spending time with family.

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