Dear Department of Labor:
I want to write to thank you for taking the time to consider the overworked and overburdened children of rural America. As a former country farm girl, your newest proposal takes a huge load off my shoulders. After so many years of harsh and abusive circumstances of rural farm life, it's a relief to know there are lawmakers like you keeping tabs on things.
Just a pity it took until now.
I'll never be able to reclaim the lost years of my life. I spent my young years being denied the privilege of sleeping in and lying around on the couch and watching TV while my parents did all the work. This new rule totally makes sense. I wasted so much time learning abusive lessons about hard work, responsibility, and team effort as the family worked together mowing, changing timing belts on tractors, and weeding corn.
To think of all the times I could have been practicing lack of initiative and self-centeredness my overbearing parents were more concerned about character development and had me out in the hot sun hoeing, digging, bushwhacking, and weeding. If only the Department of Labor had been around with these child labor laws sooner I may not now enjoy the mushy feelings of contentment after putting in a hard day's work, or learning how to handle bigger responsibilities.
And where does 4H come off being able to instill a sense of responsibility and value in impressionable young kids. Why in the world would we want a 100 year old institution with a mission grounded in building responsibility and initiative teaching young kids how to have the confidence and skills to join in the team effort of farm life. It would be much better for say, a large, out of touch, ill-informed branch of Federal government to be teaching kids these important rural life skills.
I mean, I for one would have loved a Federal Government training course to teach me how to change the belt in our tractor. What a stupid waste of time it was for my mom and I to spend hours on the dusty ground trying to rip the shredded belt out, driving to the local Tractor Supply, and coming home to spend more hours figuring out how to reinstall it. All those hours we spent together problem solving, applying science, math, physics, and economics only to be rewarded by standing sweaty and dirty admiring what we accomplished.
I for one, am just glad to know that if my husband decides to up and move us to a farm next year, my boys would never have to know the value of sweaty hard work, the proud feeling of blisters earned and the amazing taste of food you planted, weeded, nurtured, and harvested. I'm glad I won't have to be afraid for them attending a 4H meeting and being forced into situations of having to care for a goat or even worse learn how to show a cow at a county fair.
As a mother, I'm beyond relieved to know Future Farmers of America meetings won't be teaching my boys to safely operate farm equipment. I feel much better knowing a qualified Federally trained operative is handling all that instruction. I'm sure that once my boys reach 18, the age the Department of Labor says is ok to start pitching in, they will be more than willing to hop up off that couch and jump right in there with mom and pop working the land. What adolescent wouldn't want to just switch from being self indulged and having no expectations on him to being a hard working, roll your sleeves up, go get 'em, teen? I wouldn't want them to waste their young years building character, competence, confidence, and initiative becoming valued members of society. They're just too young to pitch in there along side the family.
For hundreds of years America has seen the family working together on their farms and so far it's been a disaster. I can't believe it took this long for the government to step in. As I'm sure we'll see, once the government finally gets involved things turn around and the backbone of America's agriculture will, I'm sure, disappear as we know it.
Our future generation of poorly educated, gratified, self indulged, and undisciplined children will now also thank the Department of Labor for adding lack of initiative, irresponsible, undependable, and does-not-show-effort to the growing resume of Americans.
Thank you Federal Government for worrying yourself with horrid things like 4H and family effort. I'm glad to know you focus your energies and my tax dollars on such overarching issues. Things like the budget deficit, rising oil prices, and the housing market are just too much to handle so I say, why not just mess with something small to feel you are making a difference. Thanks for caring so much.
Mom in a Future Farmerless America