Every once in a while Dad likes to shake things up a bit and switch around the chores and responsibilities for us kids. Believe me it’s usually a welcome change! I mean, who doesn’t get tired of the same old same old 24/7? It gets to where I can milk cows in my sleep. When you’ve milked cows in exactly the same way (or done anything for that matter) for about 4 hours a day, summer, winter, spring time and harvest it can start to get on your nerves. We kids start joking that we’re going to go on a strike or turn in our notice papers!
On a side note though, having a family business has really taught me a valuable lesson in having a corporate spirit. When I was younger I used to entertain the thought that, “Man, Mom and Dad are getting a lot of free labor out of me” But as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to see that it’s not that way at all. We are all breadwinners. All of us are pulling the load together to bring in income and grow our own food. Not only is it a good reality check for me, but it’s a good morale booster. “I help to provide for my family.” It’s a great feeling. We all work together so we can all eat, buy clothes, and all of the rest.
So, last week instead of milking I was on meals, laundry and housecleaning. It’s not so simple to prepare food for 11 hungry people! Some of those days it felt like all I did was cook and wash dishes all day long. But hey, there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes I think our culture is tempted to look down on such jobs as menial labor. But washing dishes and cooking meals is nothing to look down on! These two seemingly humble tasks are two of the central cornerstones of our society. Everyone’s gotta eat and the dishes have got to be cleaned. It’s good honest work to do with your hands. I had a good helper too. Gabriel, (7) who doesn’t yet have a steady job on the farm was my handsome and (mostly) willing assistant. By the end of the week he got pretty good at unloading the dish washer, cleaning the bathroom and sweeping. These are great jobs for him to do. It builds confidence in a child to have something useful to do with their hands. I think the rest of the kids were pretty happy with their new jobs too.