"What's the most important lesson you learned as a kid on the ranch?" That's what I asked a group of kids, ages 2-10, during a book reading last weekend at the South Dakota Farm Bureau's Young Farmer and Rancher Conference held in Spearfish, SD. Doing what's right is the cowboy way of life, and that's one of the many lessons I seek to impart in my children's book, “Levi’s Lost Calf.”
When I asked this question, I was impressed with the responses received.
“My grandpa always told me to sit up tall in the saddle,” said one little girl.
“I’ve learned the animals always come first, no matter what,” said another.
“I like riding my horses and helping Dad chase cows,” added the oldest boy in the group.
“My mom’s garden is my favorite. I love all the yummy food,” remarked another.
Think of all the responsibilities your parents gave you growing up on the ranch. Do you remember the first time they let you ride a horse? Or, perhaps it was a big deal when they left home for the weekend and left you in charge of chores. Do you remember driving a tractor for the first time?
These small tasks helped develop the important values and lessons that make farm and ranch kids the salt of the earth. I've read that farm kids are an employer’s top pick when choosing a new hire, as they know how to work hard and get the job done. After all, it’s just the cowboy way.
Many of you are familiar with the Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed child labor law rules. Now, a video featuring farm girl Courtney DeHoff explains how these newly proposed regulations could impact the way of life for many agriculture families.
Watch the video here. How would the proposed rule on child labor impact your family and operation? What lessons did you learn as a kid growing up? Do you believe this rule protects kids or deprives them of important life lessons? Weigh in today!