The goats here belong to Reiley. Our youngest child, 13 years old as of a week ago. Reiley has grown up on farms. He knows how things work. He is there when they are born, he is there when they die, either from old age or when it is time to graduate the animals to the freezer. He has no problem with this really. But he has not yet in his life had to deal with an abortive pregnancy: especially in one of 'his' animals. He was upset and needed to know that it wasn't something he had done that had caused it to happen.
As a parent, I have worried about my sons at times. After slaughtering 30 or 40 chickens in a day they seem unaffected, I worry that they might be a little too desensitized to death. So, from a strictly analytical perspective, it was good to know that he does understand the difference between an animal passing after a long good life as a pet. That an animal being raised for food deserves a comfortable life and a quick humane death at the appointed time. (I'm sorry if this offends the vegetarians who are reading this). I think he was rattled because this is the first time he was dealing with a death that seemed senseless to him. So as I said, from a strictly analytical perspective it is good to know that this affected him. As his mother however, my heart was breaking for him.
Now I am quite proud of our children. I am proud of the fact that we were not “helicopter” parents. We gave our kids a certain amount of freedom. Working and living on farms we were fortunate that they could have a lot of outdoor time
with no one actually standing over them watching their every move. This taught
them that we trusted them, that sometimes they would make decisions that were
wrong, and then there were consequences. They learned to trust their abilities,
to know that certain situations were dangerous and mostly to trust their own
When we decided to home school the kids we realized that we were taking on the resposibility not just for their academic education, but that making sure we were raising critical thinking, well rounded adults. We spent a great deal of time and money making sure they had experiences out side of the house and farm. We were incredibly lucky that most of the adults our children came into contact with: coaches, mentors, family friends were wonderful, exceptional people who helped to form our kids into the adults they are now. Looking back, we have come to realise that some of the most important things we taught our kids were lessons they learned by including them in the 'adult world'.
Our kids were asked for their opinion, and listened to when they gave it. We included them in decision making, they usually knew most of what was going on with our family and why. The older four had to grow up a little too soon after Gary's accident but they did understand that there are hardships in life and that sometimes even though you did everything right; it can go horribly wrong.
I am not trying to convince you that we raised perfect children, far from it. I am fully aware of all their shortcomings. However, I am proud of the adults they have become. They are kind, helpful, loving people who know right from wrong and how to stand up for what they know is right. They know how to work and they understand the value of hard work. Their word is as solid as a signed contract, and they will give you the shirt off their back if you need it. Sometimes they take far too many chances for my liking, (Graham & Jason); but at ages 19, 21, 23, and 24 they all support themselves, have great people in their lives and I am proud to call them friends as well as my children.
So no matter how hard it is to watch them suffer through a loss like Reiley had yesterday, I guess it more important to guide them through it than to shield them and let them believe horrible things never happen. (But it doesn't reduce the number of grey hairs on my head).
On a completely different note, the five little piggies were left for their new home today. They are off to Joe and Stephanie's at Sweet Earth Farm.
One little piggy tried to run home, but Joe tackled him in the end!