This weekend I had the opportunity to spend some time with roughly 800 young farmers from around the country at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmer and Ranchers conference. And while these 800 or so leaders are amazing – it’s their children who held me captivated. There is something truly spectacular about farm kids.
How can I explain this? Maybe the best was is to ask the parents out there a question…Would you trust your child to sit through an hour-long lecture on business planning? These parents did, and I can attest that there were no death threats whispered through clenched teeth and no complaints from the other participants in the room. These kids listened or played, but not one of them whined.
The conference was held at Disney and every family planned on taking advantage of the opportunity to make happy family memories – on farm tours. I was in the elevator Sunday morning with a family of four. I asked the kids if they were going to see Mickey. The boy (who was about six or seven) looked at me like I was speaking a strange language and said, “No, farm tour,” in that exasperated way they do when you don’t see something so clearly obvious.
I’ve had similar experiences with little farm boys. Like the time I’d commented to a friend’s son how mature he looked, only three weeks after seeing him last. God love him, he rolled his eyes and threw his hands in the air and said, “Jen, I was four then. Now I’m five.” He’s equally amazed by my limited knowledge of little boy things like when I call a John Deere 4220 just a green tractor.
Anyway, I was looking at all these kids (Kentucky alone brought 26) and felt completely humbled. They know so much about life – the pure, honest, hard working, all your effort, all your love kind of knowledge – so much more than a lot of mainstream adults I know. They have a world view, a respect for life, for family and for nature that is both innocent and wise all at the same time and I am thankful for the pleasure of meeting them.
One more story though before I go. I chatted with one of those proud Kentucky moms on the bus ride back to the hotel the other night and she rattled off funny things her son has said and done, but this was the funniest.
This Kentucky mom called her son over to a group of women at a family gathering. “Guess what, Jared?” she asked. “Auntie Jean is going to have a baby. Isn’t that wonderful?”
Jared looked at his mother and responded. “Did Uncle Ken climb up on her back like the bull does with the cows?”
Auntie Jean nearly fainted, everyone else broke out in laughter and Jared did that little boy shake of the head like they were all crazy and went back to playing with his tractors.