Ugh! With one quick toss I threw the fencing pliers into the grass. I’d had enough. The wire job on this fence was about to make me lose my Christianity, and it was all because of my daughters.
In 2008, our family bought a piece of land with just a house. We built a barn for our sheep flocks but needed fencing. We decided to make five different pastures all separated by woven wire. And as any well-respected young farm family would, we thought our kids should help.
Together, we spent hours setting corner posts and pounding T-posts. Then came the rolling, stretching and attaching of the woven wire to the posts.
We used T-post clips, which are specially designed for attaching wire to the post. With a little instruction from their dad on how to use the pliers with the T-post clips, our daughters eagerly twisted them into place.
Fast forward 11 years and I realize there should’ve been a little more inspection and oversight in our fence building. Instead of making a simple twist that can be easily undone, my girls had made several passes at the wire. In some areas, I think they straightened the wire clip out just to see how many times they could twist it.
As I knelt on the ground in the pasture, head leaning on the post, I thought, “Should we have allowed our kids to help build the farm fence?”
RIGHT WAY: Here is an example of how a T-post clip should look — wrapped once!
Honestly, with the sun beating down and my wrists cramping, I thought, “Absolutely not.” But as I glanced up at the wire still wrapped around and around, I knew better.
Two kids were so excited about their new farm that they twisted until their heart was content. They wanted to be a part of the process.
Over the years, they ran in between these fences chasing sheep. They scurried up and over these fences getting away from some ornery bucks. And they might or might not have backed into a few fences when learning to drive the farm truck. My girls left their mark on the farm and it was tight.
It is important to allow kids to be a part of the farming operation even at an early age. Find the time and patience to instruct them on tasks. Let them make mistakes. Encourage them to do it over and get it right. Build their confidence.
Parents, don’t be too busy to bring them along. Don’t be too afraid to let them experience the “real” side of farming. When your young child sees you having fun on the farm, it ignites their passion.
When they see you struggle to loosen a bolt, it inspires their creativity. And as they see you throw pliers, pick them up and get back to work. it pushes them to overcome.
The time spent working together on the farm can never be replaced. It offers teachable moments and invaluable memories. Go ahead, build that fence.