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Farm Kids, Nature vs. Nurture

As I watched my youngest girl trot happily out to the chicken coop to muck the thing, I couldn’t help but shout with joy.  She arrived knowing every dance move from the rap videos on MTV and all of the lyrics (even the scary ones).  Now she hums “If You’re Happy and You Know It” under her breath while feeding chickens and helping me stir batches of laundry detergent.  But does that a farm kid make?

Old Mr. W, my neighbor from childhood, swore that farm kids were born and not made.  He theorized that no child born into suburbia could ever transition into farm life.  They would never be able to understand that feeding the animals is just not a chore that can be forgotten.  They would never “get it” that sleeping in meant that the cows wouldn’t be milked, the horses would go hungry, and the chickens wouldn’t be let out of their coop to enjoy the sunlight in order to lay eggs.  Ultimately, he felt that city kids would feel robbed of their childhood were they to wake up one day and be expected to farm.  Oprah would be called, Tom Cruise would fly in and jump on the furniture, R.E.M. would burst into “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” and the poor little displaced child would be returned to a world of video games and designer clothes.

We take a slightly different view.  Kids, we believe, really don’t wish to spend their formative years turning their brains to chunky peanut butter.  They would much rather pop out of bed early and paint the chicken coop or gather eggs than most anything else.  The daily chores become adventures and opportunities to make lasting memories.

So, the question must be put to you, my wonderful friends.  Is a farm kid born or made?

  • Aunt Laura - Farm kids are made!! We (my brother and I) never had “the farm life” until we were C and B’s ages and took to it like flies to honey! I think growing up with these responsibilites made us better people. I love bringing home grown produce to friends to share and giving gifts of canned fruits, jams, etc. The girls will never regret the joyus life you’ll provide for them.
    Love ya’ll and Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

  • Julie at Elisharose - I hope they are made. I want to turn my city kids into farm kids some day. Some day soon! Of course, I also have to turn myself into a real farm wife/mother. : )ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - You know I got mixed feelings about that. I mean look at me and all the stuff I asked you to teach me!!!! That my mom still to this day wonders how i can boil water!!!! But you are doing a great job, there is nothing wrong with chores or learning why the “SIMPLE LIFE” is the good life!!! Even though I am so happy for you I miss you, we need a playdate!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Marlene - Dear Lacy,
    I I am going to throw an idea at you for the moment. Being “born” a farmer only constitutes the fact that they were born on the farm or asap from birth brought home to the farm thus it became natural to the child to live and understand the farm. Being “made consitutes that one is molded into the farm mode at what ever age and then the child begins to understand more and thus it starts to feel normal being on the farm. Being born versus being made, does this not go through the same educational tendicies. Knowledge at any age if accepted is the rebirth of a new person in any state. Children will thrive in these types of situations because of “LOVE”. The child and the parent love and respect each other enough to want to belong to each other. THUS a FAMILY BEGINS on the farm.ReplyCancel

  • Robin - I say they can be made. :mrgreen:

    Hey Miss Lacy! Happy New Year to your and your sweetie pies!!

    My brother and I moved to my Grandmother’s farm when I was 11 and he was 10 years old. We LOVED and it took no time at all before we were enjoying the smell of dew on the grass as the sun rose over the farm. Dodging cow patties was cool! 😆 I remember that time as the best of my growing up years.

    Those sweet children were meant to be with YOU on your farm, Miss Lacy! God bless you and Josh for all you do!! Love & hugs, Robin & girliesReplyCancel

  • ValarieLea - Clearly a farm kid is made, because all of mine have been born into farm life and none of them actually do any of the chores in the morning, and actually they dont really do the outside chores unless it involves running a tractor of something. Normally their Granddaddy or Daddy do all the stuff around here.

    So pretty much what they do around here is because they enjoy it, not because the have gotten out of bed at dark thirty to do it. My kids don’t do dark thirty in the morning. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Rosa - A farm kid is made… It is so lovely to see your children enjoying a totally different life!

    Happy New Year and all the best to you and your loved ones!



  • Barbara - Hello and Happy New Year. They are made. I lived in the really big city Fort Lauderdale from birth till I was 12 years old and moved to the country. I remember waking up my first day in the country and being in Awe of the fresh air and the sound of birds, Meadowlarks to be exact. No constant humm and static like in the city. I loved mucking the stalls, collecting eggs, riding horses, watching my first calf being born as well as the joy of first colt being born and going out each morning when the dew was still on the ground to check on the new colt and naming it Morning Glory as a result and watching the older woman make jams, sewing, knitting, etc…. I wanted to do it all. I was never bored again in the country. I am finally back in the country after several years of living in the city again and loving every moment of it. Your girls are beautiful and they seem to be enjoying painting and helping Dad out. Best Wishes to you and your family.ReplyCancel

  • Jamie - I agree…Farm kids are made. If you look up “hard work” in the dictionary you’ll find a picture of some farm kid(s) cause they defiantley know the meaning of the word.ReplyCancel

  • Christina - Definitely made! Nurture much more than nature. Give them the resources, They choose the right! A so very very Happy New Year to you and your darling family. (((((hugs)))))ReplyCancel

  • Marlene - Dear Joshua, Lacy, A, B, C,


    Love Always,
    A.J. and MarleneReplyCancel

  • Daniela - Hey Lacy,

    Farm kids are made…definitely made…that’s my final answer.

    Happy New Year to you and yours!ReplyCancel

  • seth - Kids are sponges…..you’ll be surprised at what they can soak up…..good and bad……is up to the parents to direct what they soak up. You guys are not the type of parents to just turn on the electronic babysitter. Kids need to be busy….keeps “em outa trouble. You’re doin a great job already!!!!!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • HeatherJ - First…. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! May God bless your year with all good things and I pray this year is your and Josh’s best one yet!

    Hmmm…. my sister was a rabid city girl who “eeewed” at all things country. She hated antiques (dead people’s furniture that smelled weird). She hated the people (they are slow and they all talk too much). She hated the clothes (designer clothes were prettier). She hated the smells (who died in the field next door?). She hated the distance (I’d have to drive HOW far to get a Starbuck’s?). She hated the quiet (nothing ever happens out here. How BORING!)

    We were raised in the ‘burbs and didn’t even have a garden. She spent most of her childhood in Chicago, for heaven’s sake.

    Well, now she is in her 40’s and for the past ten years has lived with her new hubby DEEP in the country with her horses, cats, dogs, giant garden, smelly antiques, yappy neighbors, jeans and muck boots, cows wafting their vapors from next door, and she LOVES it! She says she would never change a thing and wouldn’t go back to the city for anything. She actually feels sorry for ME now because I live in the suburbs with “all that chaos”.

    Who knew an “old dog” (she’d slap me) could completely do a 180 like that?

    Hugs to you and yours!ReplyCancel

  • Barbie - I have to believe that it a little of both. I think some people were born to live in the country and never feel comfortable in the city or suburbs. However, I think that everyone can learn to appreciate the hard work found on the farm, given the chance to have the right attitude about it.

    So, you have three girls…and a baby? Is the baby a boy? I’m so confused!ReplyCancel

  • Tipper - Definitely made! And I’m just thrilled yours are in the making!ReplyCancel

  • ang - Lacy, you ask a very spiritual question for me. I’ll try not to go into a dissertation, I promise.

    Simply put- “It is what God provides in our heart and then what we choose to value.”

    Many a farm child has left the farm to seek grander, richer lives and have been happy. Many a child has sought or returned to simplicity to “lead a quiet life, work with one’s hands…”

    Whether your children grow up to be City or Country folk, it matters not. They will be better people for the love you and Josh will provide.

    okay, I’ll go see what others think!

  • Ann - I don’t know, but I LOVE seeing the kidlets! Happy New Year, my dear to you and yours!!ReplyCancel

  • Robbyn - We are still rejoicing with you and Josh over your children!!!! (Whew, boy, thank you, God!!!)

    Children are led and nurtured, and your decision to not have a TV is a terrific step in that. The fact your life is something you’re enthusiastic about is what will energize the kids…if you treated it like drudgery, they probably would, too. Kids’ wiggly little bodies really WANT to get outside and move, feed chickens, paint chicken houses rather than rot. I think today’s kids need to be unplugged from technology (I’m alone in that opinion many times) and should explore the real world …learn how to build a life so they can do it when they’re grown. Making things in the kitchen, helping clean and maintain things, having space to run and run and animals to play with, care for, watch over…perfect! And two God-loving parents for direction and love and encouragement…how good does it get?? 🙂 So much better than a “virtual” life…

    Love you guys…SO happy for you all!

    🙂 RobbynReplyCancel

  • warren - I definitely think made…I suppose there comes a tipping point (i.e. age) where it is harder to become a farm kid but I think it is possible at any age. That’s just my view from being around kids…it applies to almost everything too, not just farming!ReplyCancel

  • Tia Julie - I totally agree with ang. The children look like they are having a blast in their new happy home. The parents appear to be having fun too! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • The Cotton Wife - Puh-LEEZE! I know town kids who bound out of bed and into the backyard just itching for something to do and farm kids who dress in frilly pageant dresses and spend their days trying on shoes and rehearsing Taylor Swift songs for the next competition.

    Farm kids who work hard are MADE!ReplyCancel

  • rhonda jean - I think all kids are made. They soak up everything they see. Forget about telling them, they will do what you do, not what you say. It’s yet another reason to be the kind of people you want them to be and I know you and Joshua will have no problems modelling that behaviour.ReplyCancel

  • farm mom - Oh lacy, I didn’t even know your children had arrived! (I finally subscribed to your blog, as it just wasn’t updating on my blogger list.) I think something about the life we lead, just appeals to a child’s nature and curiosity. It doesn’t suprise me in the least that they are taking to it and enjoying it. I’m so very happy for you and your family!! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Barb - You are starting on the right foot! No doubt about it! I didn’t grow up on a farm…none of my family today want anything to do with “Farm Life” (except our kids)…
    Keep on nurturing and presenting the opportunities for them to grab a hold of!!
    Wow, Iove watching this journey….
    Many Hugs Lacy!
    Momma BarbReplyCancel

  • Christy - REMARKABLE post!!! I LOVE IT!!! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • It Ain’t Easy Being Dinner : Razor Family Farms - […] didn’t park a few poultry houses alongside their dairy or beef cattle (except for Grandpa and old Mr. W) were busily churning out veal.  The veal farm we lived next to had no fences.  Their cattle […]ReplyCancel

  • The Chicken Coop Addition : Razor Family Farms - […] into a chicken coop, holds many fond memories.   Our foster daughters helped me paint it (read: Farm Kids: Nature vs. Nurture), the girls excitedly collected eggs from it (read: The Sweetest Things), and my goat-kid made it […]ReplyCancel

  • Tracie Fulford - Hi! I know I’m a little late on commenting on this post from well over a year ago, but I loved it. It is the story of my life…i was made into a farm wife. But I know what your old neighbor is talking about…there is truth to what he said about chores that can be forgotten when you never knew how important they are. And there is also a sense of dedication to a greater good, a higher calling if you will, that farmers and country folk understand in their very soul. But as so many others said too, some people have it inside them to desire and long for this type of life for no particular reason. And then they turn this desire into reality and they are smack dab in the middle of the best lifestyle ever. And the rest is history. The fresh air, the squawking chickens, the mooing cow, the rushing wind, the rocking chairs, the expanse of fields planted in crops… they have the power to turn the most slickest of city dweller any day!ReplyCancel

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