July 18, 2023
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.
Some reminders for parents:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Some pointers for the kids:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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