By guest authors Tom & Dana Bryant
My husband and I grew up in the suburbs. After we married, we moved with the military for over 20 years, and then we felt the Lord calling us to buy land in order to raise and teach our children how to work.
It just seemed that we would need to know how to live on land and know how to work. In our lives, the Lord seems to teach us as we go – never beforehand and never afterwards. His timing is perfect and we are very imperfect!!
The boys were quite young when we purchased our land – ages 5, 3 and – 1 (Samuel was not around until a year later). They have grown up learning how to:
- water and feed chickens
- milk goats
- handle goat kids
- raise baby piglets into huge hogs (and sell them)
- handle and load cattle
- and milk cows.
Chores were done twice a day, every day, through the cold, hot, dry, wet, snow, lightning storms – you name it. No matter the weather, chores had to be done. Growing up, they did not really know any different way, so they did not complain. In fact, being outside was always a huge amount of fun; they would rather be outside than in, especially since school work was typically done inside!
Thinking back over the years, we made lots of mistakes; there are things we should have worked on more diligently and some things we should have not worked on at all. I am very grateful for the opportunity that we have and I am still pretty amazed at our lives as a result. The boys now enjoy working – and working hard – whether they are farming, fencing or doing mechanical work. They just love to be outside doing something productive.
Working together brought out both strengths and weaknesses, individually and as a family. It has been interesting to see the different talents each person in our family has and how they can all fit together – we would not have known this otherwise. We still build on those strengths and work on the weak areas.
We came up with 3 areas that stood out to us; some we did well on, and some not so well, but they are lessons learned nonetheless:
- Ensure that each morning, the children get out of bed at a designated time, make their bed, and clean their room. Without that underpinning of accountability/responsibility, they may be good workers but will ultimately fail from lack of discipline. At best, they might be able to work for someone but will never be able to be successful on their own.
- Give children meaningful jobs to do with specific, measurable standards. There is a big difference between just doing a job and doing it well.
- Check their work and ensure they complete the task to specified standard in the allotted time.
Farm chores can be the medium to train and teach character development, diligence, patience, productivity, creatively, and how to serve others.
Now, that does not mean we have been 100% successful in these areas. The Bible is, of course, the best teacher; nothing takes the place of God’s word. Prayer is the best tool to form and shape our children, while God gives the increase.
We, obviously, cannot save our children, but we can raise them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord to the best of our ability. We all will fail in this area to some degree, as well as other areas, but by the grace of God alone, we will endeavor to serve Him with all our mind, soul, and strength.
There are countless areas that will fall into this category, and it is our desire and opportunity, as parents, to take advantage of all the teachable moments as our children grow and mature.
About the Authors: Bryant Family
Tom and Dana Bryant desire to instill God-honoring principles and work ethic in their children, while teaching them entrepreneurial business management. In 2000, they moved from the city and embarked on a farming adventure. Their production of all-natural meats and milk provides opportunities for their children to develop useful life skills and manage their money.