Monday 20 August 2012

Family, at work.

We didn't choose to have children in order to build a small labour force.
Though on the farm, children help make up a family that works together.
And kids come with a built in desire to help.
Sure, they don't want to clean up their room.
Often, they work against you.
But you can be sure that when you are doing something creative with tools,
they want to do the same.

It can be hard to allow them to help when they are young.
Especially when time is short and the task needs to be completed.
We try our best to let them participate, whether it is in the kitchen or in the shop.
And we also allow them to use the tools like knives or saws.
Small cuts or bruises are part of the learning process; for all of us.
In case your worried, we don't let them run the radial arm saw.

Work is a perfect time for teaching other basics.
There is relevance to every motion.
From the physics of a level, to the chemistry of cement,
to the math of a square, to the cutting design of a saw.
Explanations are much easier when there is purpose.
Tactile experiences appeal to the senses,
and children need the whole experience.

This isn't the time to teach the value of diligence and completion.
The attention spans are still very short,
though the desire to spend time together keeps them going.
Some things are best taught by example.
And I need to remind myself of that as I lose patience when the pace slows.

There will come a time when the kids will be a real help.
For now, the goal is to let them try different jobs out.
And though I do watch for strengths to show,
we're not training them as workers to be pigeon-holed for a predestined occupation.
Fortunately for all of us, there is an incredible variety of experience here.
My hope is to not only teach them an array of skills,
but to teach them that they are capable of doing anything they want to.

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