Friday, December 2, 2011

A Well Rounded Education Part 2 - Work

I want to talk in a little more detail about some of the ideas I presented in my last post.

I'll start with the idea of work. I'm not sure when society started to assume that it was normal that kids never had to work but even back in the day I had a lot of friends that never had jobs and had no real idea what responsibility was. Kids absolutely need time to play and I don't know that kids today ought to work as hard as I did as early as I did but I see absolutely nothing wrong (and plenty right) with starting and mentoring young people at simple, safe, wholesome and necessary age appropriate farmstead tasks.

All the way through high school we were warned repeatedly that we'd have to buckle down and learn how to go to work when we went to college. Buckle down ? Going to a really, really good college (and passing all my courses with flying colours) was a four year vacation compared to the life I led and the responsibilities I had before I left home. And virtually all the farm kids I went to school with felt the same way. When I graduated from college and got my first full time job I couldn't believe how much free time I had. It was ridiculous. They only wanted me to work forty or forty five hours a week. This also felt suspiciously like a vacation from "real" life, and one of the reasons I started farming part time almost immediately after graduation was to fill up some of the free time I had before and after work by doing something productive instead of spending money. I'm not kidding when I say it must be hard as hell to transition from child to productive adult if all you've ever had to do in life before going to college and getting a job was play and get admonished to do your homework. I'm glad I didn't find out what that was like because I'm pretty sure I'd have made a mess of it. I came pretty close to doing so even with the head start I got !


Kristy said...

The very sad reality of it all is we wonder where this 'entitled' generation has come from. We wonder why farmers and agriculture are getting bomb-barded with false claims about animal welfare, husbandry, environmental impacts, etc. The only way that adults know and accept responsibility is that someone instills it in them as a child. You can't take a 16-18 year old kid and suddenly teach them respect and responsibility if they've never been challenged with it to that point. Oh...I could go on and on...but then again, I don't have kids. So I obviously have no idea what I'm talking about. :)

Jason said...

I think there ARE ways to instill responsibility in kids other than working. Just as a for instance, competing in sports at high levels requires a lot of committment, intensity and time, much like jobs do.

The ones kids are committed to nothing are the ones who in my opinion are going to have serious problems transitioning from childhood to adulthood.