Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Farming Fathers, a Tribute to Dad

Christmas 2014: 4 generations: Grandpa, Dad, my brother, my niece.
I am blessed.  God has blessed me with a great father.  I am who I am because of two really good parents, but this week I am going to blog about my dad.  My father is the only son, with five sisters. My grandfather is the only son, and my brother is the only son.  We have a long line of women in my family that have rose to the occasion to be active members on the farm.  My aunts were tractor drivers, cow milkers, calf feeders, chicken raisers, manure pitchers, and hog farmers.  They knew the value of hard work and did it with strength and grace.  My sisters and I followed in their footsteps as well.  My dad often jokes about how his sisters picked on him, but the truth is they helped form him into a great father for his daughters.  Dad learned at an early age that women can do anything they put their mind to.

My dad never shied away from teaching his daughters to be independent.  He taught me to change my car’s oil, rotate tires, taught me the difference between metric and standard wrenches; he taught me that I did not need a man, but I might want a man.  He is my standard to which I compare all other men.  As a farmer he showed his daughters compassion in how he cared for his dairy cows, his pigs, and his land.  We saw our father struggle through the tough times and celebrate the good times.  We saw him love our mother, and forgive her.  We saw our father sin and ask for forgiveness.  Most importantly we witnessed our dad’s great faith.  Life hasn’t been easy for him, but through it all he never lost his faith.  Farming is a testament of any farming father’s faith.  Dad depended on God to care for his family when times were tough, when crops didn’t grow because of drought, when floods drown our fields, and when illness ravaged the dairy herd.  Farming is not for the faint of heart.  It was his great example which inspired me to be just like him. 

When I was troubled, he listened to me and let me cry.  When I was boastful, he taught me humility.  When I was sad, he taught me to know that sadness was temporary and happiness is a choice.  He taught me to appreciate the little blessings in life and see God in all around me: family, friends, nature, and farming.  He showed me the importance of family and friends, and to value those relationships the most.  He believed in me when I couldn’t believe in myself and gave me the freedom to fail and make mistakes.  I knew no matter what he loved me and believed in me.  Just knowing that gave me all the strength I needed, add a little faith in God and I am the woman I am because of my dad.
Happy Father’s Day to all of the farming fathers!  You are influencing your sons and daughters in more ways that you can possibly imagine through the way you farm, the way you love, and most of all through your faith in God above.  Keep up the good work!  You’re raising the next generation of awesome people!