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Ag Dads Rule

June 16, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFather’s day is one day we pay tribute to those who guided our early years, those who should be our biggest fans but some aren’t.

Some abuse their kids, belittle and tear down confidence instead of building them up. Some aren’t available for their kids. Some are busy making a living and forget to make a life.

Then there’s ag dads. By virtue of vocation, they have a different understanding about the role of dads in parenting. Recently, my friend Jeff Fowle made an awesome post on his blog after a trying period with his son.

Our perspective of dads is somewhat limited. Our own experience with our dad, and often those of our friends, is somewhat confining, but growing up it’s all we can wrap our brains around. OK so growing up it’s about all the things we don’t get to do, and too often not really appreciating the things we do.

JoeJanJerryAprilAs I think about dads in rural areas, I knew that when I visited the Wittmeyers I could expect the same treatment as at home, and there would be no hesitation in relaying information to home if needed. I knew that I was always welcomed when we’d visit after school or on the weekends.

I knew when visiting neighbors that I was expected to have a certain level of behavior. I knew that sooner or later my dad would find out what we did, good or bad, and it was best to come clean. Some today call that “it takes a village” but it was just looking out for each other. It builds community.

I think of the dads no longer here – Andy Peed, Wally Hoadley, Mike Hoadley – and those left behind.

ChiefDrinkingAnd I’m thankful I can still call and wish my dad Happy Father’s Day. I wish we weren’t so far away, and able to get home so little. But I can’t think of anywhere else I’d want to have grown up except in the country.

I think of the hours taking care of cows, riding horses, chopping hay, painting fence posts, pulling weeds and lessons learned doing all of those things.

I think of the blessing of pretty much always getting to go to 4-H and FFA fairs, contests and school activities.

A perfect parent? No. Mistakes come often in parenting and there’s no do-over. There’s not a lot of training.

MomDadwmBut my parents raised four, buried three, and after a second marriage two younger siblings joined the family. We’ve never called each other step-sister/brother – and as messed up as life can lead, we turned out alright and mostly have followed our own paths. Some that stayed close to the same county we grew up in, while others moved away.

But there are lessons shared in the country that are just different from urban dwellers. There’s snipe hunts, flashlight tag, water fights and the appreciation of rest after a long day’s work. There’s lessons in thinking ahead, consequences and not always understanding why sometimes dad was “mean” – but it was always with our best interests in mind.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe construction with solid materials I picked up at home. The reusing things in a different way I learned from my dad, who made useful, durable, long lasting items from cast off materials.

Thanks to all the dads out there. And a special Happy Father’s Day to Lee Hoadley. I love you dad.

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