From the first day our oldest took her first tractor ride to this day (I now have three kids ages 18, 15 and 11), I still preach when they walk out the door about being careful around equipment and livestock.
Facts can sometimes be startling and seem unreal in my small world. Open up the web page for Farm Safety for Just Kids and you might see these words in bold:
"Every 3 days…..a child dies on a farm"
Talk about an attention grabber. Just the thought of that is terrifying and seems so far from my world but yet so close. There are no guarantees in life.
According to the website, "One child dies every three days on a farm. Every day 38 kids are injured in an agricultural related accident. It's estimated that over 7,700 kids were hurt on a farm in 2012."
I am by no means saying children shouldn't work or play on the farm. I am advocating, however, for safety and common sense. You know your children and what they are capable of. Just because all three of mine were brought up exactly the same doesn't mean they have similar strengths and weaknesses.
My oldest would be the first kid I would choose for cattle work. She knows cattle. My others are perfectly capable, but I trust her whole-heartedly to understand the dangers of cows, calves and how to react.
My middle child is the hog farmer. She is patient but strong-willed with a hog of any size, and she knows her limits as well as the hogs' limits. All of my kids work with the hogs, but she is the one I want with me in a difficult situation.
My youngest thinks every job can be completed with a piece of equipment and knows how to make a piece of equipment do the job. He started running the grain cart last year, at age 10, by himself. We knew he could handle it and he proved us right. I wouldn't have let the other two run it at that age, they weren't ready. Don't tell anybody, but I always hope he is with me if I want to back the trailer right the first time because he knows what he is doing. I fully admit I don't!