Farmer Focus: Ranch is missing our daughter as term starts

Our kids recently started back at school.

Despite virtually every kid across the entire US growing up somewhere other than a farm, we still use the agrarian school calendar that has been with our country from its founding. 

A school year is from early autumn though to late spring, similar to Britain. There is a long summer break that was originally so the kids could help their parents on the farm. 

My oldest daughter is nine and, while she has “helped” for several years, this was the first year that she was actually doing any good. I really enjoyed having her help with the cattle. 

See also: 10 things only a farmer’s child would know

Not only was it enjoyable to watch her learn, it was truly helpful to have an extra set of hands around for a lot of the things we did.

She can identify most of our native grasses and is a calf-taming wizard.

My youngest daughter started school last month. In small-town America you can’t help think of Robert Bakewell’s animal breeding theory -“like begets like” – as you wait for your child’s class list and timetable. 

In our small communities it seems that hardly ever are there new families that move in, so the gene pool keeps repeating itself. The same “good” families have good kids and the same “not so good” families have theirs. 

You can pick out certain names and remember being at school yourself with their parents or relatives.

It is sad but true. We pretty much know how our kids’ next 12 years are going to be just by how their class roster looks like when it arrives. 

We could save our teachers a lot of time and effort just by pointing out some of the potential little horrors and moving on from there – but perhaps that’s wishful thinking.

Daniel Mushrush is a Farmer Focus writer from Kansas. Read his biography.