I didn’t grow up with pets. For a few years we had a goldfish that I’m pretty sure was actually a dozen different fish my parents rotated through after one died off or we starved it to death.
We finally adopted a dog when I was in middle school and I remember being frustrated by the amount of care she required (never mind the fact she was always running off). But she was a good lesson in the amount of care required when owning an animal
Having pets is a great lesson in responsibility and care of others. One of the many wonderful parts of living on the farm is pets are usually plentiful. They may not be your typical house cat but living, breathing animals are found on most Kansas farms and those cows, sheep, pigs, goats, dogs and chickens all require daily attention and work.
Raising children around animals provides an excellent opportunity to instill lessons and routines that are sure to benefit them as they grow and leave the farm.
We have 5 baby calves in our pasture at the house right now. Each night they require bottles and feed. The water tank needs to remain full and the calves need to be checked on when the weather changes or a storm blows through.
My boys, age 6 and 3, aren’t yet able to feed the calves by themselves, but they are quickly learning that feeding is a daily chore and it comes before fun and play. As a mom, it’s been amazing to see my oldest son embrace and excel at caring for the animals, interacting with the animals and taking the initiative to feed them, most evenings.
They also learn that these are the animals that help feed our family and others. We aren’t shy about explaining that our beef comes from our cows and that our bacon, chicken and hot dogs are also made from animals as well.
Farm life has a lot to teach kids, and as a mother I’m excited to experience all of these unique and wonderful opportunities alongside my boys. This summer will be full of life lessons and our 5 calves are a good start at learning to care for others.
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