I’ve reached the point in my life when many of my friends are starting families—several are even expecting their first child in the upcoming months. The soon-to-be daddies are both excited about the joys fatherhood will bring and anxious about the responsibilities the new role holds.
While I can’t speak from experience, I imagine that being a parent is a tricky balance between giving your children the time, care, love and attention they need (and you want to give) and keeping other parts of your life moving along. Perhaps this burden falls particularly heavy on fathers, who desire to keep their farms running smoothly while passing down the land traditions to their offspring. I’m still in awe of my own dad, who found time to attend all of our dance recitals and soccer games and sit down with us for daily family dinners, all while keeping the household, our gardens and yard, and his job afloat. It’s a part of my childhood I’ll always cherish, and I always wonder if I’ll ever be half as successful at it.
I know my friends feel the same way as their due dates draw nearer. They’re delving into uncharted territory, and while I’m here to support, I can’t offer much advice until I reach that point myself. However, I do want to offer this one tidbit to them:
Spend time with your children.
Seeds will always need planted. Plants will always need harvested. Cows will always need milked. Pigs will always need fed. The grueling tasks of hobby-farm life will never go away, but each moment of your son or daughter’s life is fleeting, so make the most of that time with them. Turn those chores into quality time and teaching experiences. Your kids might roll their eyes now—I know I always did—but when they’re all grown up and looking back at that time they shared with you, they will appreciate the lessons you taught them and the time and energy you invested in making them better human beings.
Happy Father’s Day to all you dads and dads-to-be out there!
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