altFarm kids see the world in ways most their age don’t.

We recently had a birthday party for my now 1-year-old great-niece Emmy, complete with Minnie Mouse ears for all who attended.

Kids in my family are farm kids, so when I see cute farm-themed toys or clothes, I buy them and Emmy’s birthday was no exception. I found a stuffed animal that’s a 2-in-1 stuffed animal, a flip-a-something or another. It’s a pig and when flipped, it’s a cow. Since her parents have pigs and cows, I thought it was be perfect for Miss Emmy. Emmy received another pig for her birthday, so I wasn’t alone in my thinking.

As the wrapping paper flew and boxes were opened, Emmy was more interested in the bows than the toys, but the other kids were pretty excited to see what wonders those colorful packages held. Emmy’s older sister, 4-year-old Eloise, was helpful and tried out most of the toys for her sister. It didn’t take long for Eloise to zoom in on the pigs.

“What do you want to bet she’ll have the little pig nursing the big pig before long,” I said as a nudged my oldest niece. Sure enough, Eloise put the bigger pig on its side and nuzzled the smaller pig up to it. Jennifer didn’t take the bet because she knew it was coming.

Earlier that evening, 4-year-old Molly told me her Poppy (my dad and her great-grandpa) came to her house to help her dad, and that one of her calves was a bull, but now it’s a steer. She then laughed and ran to play with the other kids. Molly has also witnessed the whole AI process more than once and she remains unphased by it all.

I envision many awkward conversations in the future for some of my great-nieces’ classmates and teachers.

People may feel the need to shield their kids from things in the “real world,” but farm kids see and understand more at a young age than many adults do. Farm kids learn where their food comes from, the importance of taking responsibility, hard work and the circle of life. Experts contend that farm kids are more creative, do better in school, have fewer health problems and become self-reliant adults. I don’t need an expert to tell me that.

Being a farm kid isn’t a bad life. There are days when it’s hard, but there’s no better life. Farm kids have acres, not city blocks, to play on, and they usually have pets around, be it a dog, a cat or a bottle calf. Farm kids play in dirt and mud, and they have special boots and clothes for such occasions.

I can’t wait to see what the future holds for my farm kids. I love seeing the older ones take the younger ones by the hand and help them along the path to the barn and down the path of life.

Thanks to their farming roots running deep, I think they will all be just fine.

Julie Turner-Crawford is a native of Dallas County, Mo., where she grew up on her family’s farm. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Julie, call 1-866-532-1960 or by email at [email protected]

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