The impact of living on a farm
Where you live plays a major role in how and why you act the way you do. I have lived on a farm for going on 20 years this June, and the things I have been able to experience and learn have shaped me into who I am.
One of the most important things I learned growing up was responsibility. We all learn responsibility. I think that it would be on the top 10 list of raising a child, but I learned it in a different way than some will, or have
My family moved to the farm the summer my youngest sister was born. Before moving, we lived in more of an urban area on the outskirts of Trotwood, and for as long as I can remember we have always had rabbits.
When we moved to the farm, my sister Amber and I were 6 and 5 respectively. My parents felt it was time for us to start learning the responsibility of taking care of the animals. I can remember not liking the idea at all.
At the time we had maybe 10 Netherland dwarves, because this particular breed of rabbit only gets to be at the most 2 ½ pounds, and it was easy for us at our age to take care of. We were responsible for feeding and watering them at first, and as we grew older we began to get more responsibilities, such as cleaning up after them, monitoring their health, and helping take care of their offspring.
The rabbits became more of ours and less our parents as we got more experience in taking care of them. Eventually, when my brother Aaron and my youngest sister Rachel began learning the ropes of the responsibility of animal care, we were all taking take of our own rabbits. We each had certain breeds we preferred.
I started to move toward the bigger rabbits while the others stuck to some of the smaller ones. Since I had moved onto a different breed, I had to take the responsibility of learning the specifics of that breed.
No one animal is the same and each has its own personality just as humans do. I have had some rather mean rabbits and some who only like you – and you are the only one who can handle them. Learning the specifics was one of the hardest things to learn. This was not something that my parents would budge on either.
If I had a question about something, I had to take the time to go and find the answer for myself. They wanted us to learn that you can’t go through life having everyone giving you the answer to everything.
Raising animals on a farm with your family is not just a one person effort. Between the four of us and my parents, we all had to learn a few things along the way and still continue to do so.
Taking care of animals can teach a person many different things, and it can sometimes lead that person to choosing a career in animals.
The things learned when taking care of animals can vary from animal to animal for obvious reasons; however there are common things that are taken from all.
First and foremost, one learns about how to properly feed animals. Sometimes a child does not always understand why the most important thing for an animals is to eat or drink. My parents put it in a good way to me and my siblings, by asking how we felt if they did not feed us? As you can imagine, we said that we would not be happy and they simply responded by telling us that the animals feel the same way.
Animal health is another thing on list of skills that is learned from the responsibility of animal care. One can see anything from a simple cold to extreme cases where the decision of whether to put an animal down has to be made.
The health of an animal is a not something you want to play around with. There are things that can be cured rather quickly and at home, such as lice, mites, and colds. When it comes to a larger scale, the important thing is to talk to a trained professional on the matter and get the proper course of action to take.
When I reached high school I became pretty involved with sports and 4-H, and still had animals to take care of, and was expected to care for them and not expect my younger siblings to do the work for me. During this time I learned a different type of responsibility.
If you were to look up the word responsibility in the dictionary you would find one meaning of it is the opportunity or ability to act independently and make decision without authorization. I feel this is exactly what I learned from taking care of my animals.
If I had to think of all of the things that I have been able to be successful at, such as 4-H, completing college, and running a successful 4-H club with the help of my fellow advisers; I really have my up-bringing and the farm life to thank for it. However, I can’t forget my parents for beating the responsibility aspect into my head for many years.
I truly believe that your roots are where you learn who you are. If you look at different cultures around the world and you see the way the live, act, and work, you can see their roots in them. Although heritage plays a role in how you live and how you act, it is not as large a factor as it was years ago.
For myself and my siblings, our family heritage is heavily German on both sides, and I think that plays only a small factor in why we are like we are today. Growing up on the farm impacted each of us, and shaped who we are as individuals.