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Words of advice to parents and kidsWords of advice to parents and kids

From the Farm: As school gets started this month, remember to spend time with your kids and teach them the last-minute necessary lessons before they head off for their last day.

Jennifer Carrico

July 18, 2023

3 Min Read
Mother with son and daughter
LIFE LESSONS: As parents, we hope we have taught our children the right lessons for life. We also hope we have spent as much time with them as we can. Macy Schroeder

When you have children, you hear people say, “Enjoy every moment, because it goes by so fast,” but you don’t want to believe it. Eighteen years is over 6,500 days, 156,000 hours, 9,360,000 minutes — it can’t go that quickly. Well, I’m here to tell you it really does.

This month, my son will start his senior year of high school and my daughter will start her senior year of college. Where did all that time go? Did I teach them everything they needed to know?

Raising my children on our family farm, in the show ring and in rural Iowa certainly is something I wouldn’t change. The values, work ethic, friendships and love shared in those settings are something many children don’t get the opportunity to experience.

As my children head off to many “lasts” this month, I thought I’d write down a few reminders for parents — and some kids, too.

For parents

Some reminders for parents:

  1. Emphasize the basics with your kids. Remember to always tell your kids to drive safe, eat right, get enough sleep and call home. They may act like they aren’t listening, but they really are.

  2. Ask for help working with animals. Neighbors, friends or other family members could help work cows, move pigs or kid goats. Even though it’s not the same as experiencing it with your kids, others will help you keep the farm going.

  3. Remember to go see your kids when you can. Spend extra time with them when they are at home. The years really do pass quickly, and you should cherish the moments.

  4. Teach your children the critical life lessons they need. We’ve all heard how important it is to know how to write a check, do your taxes or check the oil in a car. Be sure you have taught them a few of these things.

  5. The lessons really will sink in. Know that the things you have taught your children through the years will come back to them when they least expect to remember. Don’t sweat it, Mom and Dad, you’ve done your job and it is appreciated — even when you don’t think it is.

For kids

Some pointers for the kids:

  1. Remember you are always welcome at home. Your parents won’t make you work on the farm too much when you come back, but they do enjoy your help and your visits. Remember to call or text your parents regularly. It’s not a hard thing to do and they miss you just as much as you miss them — even if neither admits it.

  2. Always do your best at whatever you do. A little try gets you a long way. Work harder than you did the last time. It will make you a better person, even when you don’t achieve the goal.

  3. Be organized. Make yourself a schedule, use a planner, keep track of daily events. If you start doing this while you are in school, you will make it a habit. Don’t count on your brain to remember your deadlines, when you need to buy feed or the date of an important event.

  4. Remember to make good choices. and learn to deal with pressure. Peer pressure is not a new thing. While most parents of high school- and college-aged kids didn’t have to deal with social media or cellphones when they were that age, they do know what it is like to be pushed to do something.

  5. Be passionate about something. Everyone has something they love. It may be raising cattle, feeding out pigs, playing football or playing a trumpet. If you feel something inside, do your best to make the most of what you give it on the outside.

While these are just a few reminders, I hope they will help all who are experiencing lasts. Take the time to enjoy the moments with each other.

About the Author(s)

Jennifer Carrico

Editor, Wallaces Farmer

Jennifer lives on a farm near Redfield, Iowa, where she runs a small cow-calf operation with her family. A 20-plus year ag journalism veteran, Jennifer has covered a wide range of agriculture issues. A graduate of Iowa State University, she has worked for local daily papers and other agriculture publishers. She came to Wallaces Farmer from the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. She enjoys writing, managing cattle, and hearing and telling farmer stories.

Jennifer has two children. Kassidy, 21, attends Black Hawk East College, but will transfer in the fall to Oklahoma State University. Son, Klayton, attends Panorama High School where he excels in academics, sports, FFA and 4-H.

“My favorite part of being an ag journalist is to tell the story of the farmer and rancher,” she says. “The farmer and rancher do the work to make the food, fiber and fuel for everyone. I want to use our online presence to broaden that message to those off the farm.”

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