Working on Ethics
Did you happen to be in Rib Lake last Sunday for the Ice Age Days parade? Did you notice a bright red 1951 Farmall Super C driving by when suddenly a youngster handed you a cucumber? That was We Grow and the families that have been working on our farm this season. Altogether with our two part-time employees, we have 7 kids under the age of thirteen. And there have been many occasions when all of us are together on the farm. Oftentimes, the kids’ curiosity gets the best of them and they end up working with us. Olivia and Roxy have weighed out portions, Porter and Emma have planted winter squash seeds and Waylon has found countless cucumbers and tomatoes.
Kohlrabi (larges only)
Sweet Corn (larges only)
Gus and Dene, our two boys are required to work, but we give them a modest wage which they must cash in and use if they want something beyond their basic needs. Over the course of this summer, both boys have earned enough to each purchase a chromebook laptop. It has been an interesting experience watching one son keep his pockets tight and save for later while the other is a loose-pocket spender, constantly trying to bum a buck then pay you back after pay day.
In our Alaska years, midwesterners were known far and wide for their hardworking work ethic. Employers looking for hardworking laborers would put their money on a young Wisconsinite no questions asked! Much to our chagrin, we see this work ethic lacking in the next generation of the work force.
How do we change this? Where do we find young people who are willing to get dirty, break a sweat and feel the wear of a hard day’s work on their muscles? How do we teach youth to understand the satisfaction of hard work? Ironically, neither of us were raised on a farm, but from a young age we were both employed on a farm. We learned how to use a shovel and get covered in stink at a young age. But we loved it because we were working hard with others who made it fun. And we made a little money. The work the kids do on the farm isn’t always fun or exciting, but it is much more than a job.
Growing for you,