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Youth Camp for Connor

June 4, 2012

Connor left today to go with some friends from church to youth camp for the week. He’s earned a chance to get away, and I’m sure that he’ll have fun and make some memories, but it’s sure quiet here.

Oh there’s the buzz of the chickens, but it’s different without a teenager in the background. He’s become such a part of things that it’s a case of something missing when he’s not here, something that will likely be more noticed mid week!

He’s worked hard at being a “farm kid” but is more at ease in urban situations. When he came here the first time, two years ago, he’d never collected fresh eggs, or tasted fresh from the garden food. Much had been upheaval, with changes that included the too-early loss of his mom.

When he needed a place to go – removal from some negative situations – he was given chores to do, something that has increased in responsibility as he started his own animals. He’s in charge of watering and egg collection three times a day. He also feeds the dogs, and has other tasks occasionally to complete.

Getting him to think outside the work-for-someone-else box has been a challenge. An ongoing challenge! He’s done well, grasps concepts in marketing and has read several business and marketing books. Sometimes he says he hates it. He wants to be like other kids who don’t have chores to do. Sell the animals and just buy at the store.

On the other hand he’s learned about wheat, corn, cotton, sorghum and a host of other crops, at least from the standpoint of basics how to grow them and what they’re used for. He can raise, butcher, dress out and cook rabbit and chicken. He has made mistakes, certainly, but he’s learning!

It’s quiet this week with him gone…already it’s hard to give him both roots and wings. I’d like to keep him little but that’s not going to happen. He’s growing up, and at 13 recently became co-owner of 10 acres of land in Arizona, where he’d like to return to someday. My dream is in Kentucky and his may change to be there someday, but he was born in Flagstaff, and grew up in Arizona. The pull for “home” is strong, even if all has changed. So an investment made  that some day he can use or sell, and providing for him in practical ways as his mom wished for him.

The changes are still far too fast – he’s got a few years before taking those steps but it will be here before we’re ready. Or before I’m ready.

For now it’s just a few days.

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