Dear Mr. President – Guest Column by Sandra Foster

May 01, 2012

[img_assist|nid=27567|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=300|height=290]Dear Mr. President,

I began work on the family farm before I was 4 years old. It was my distinct pleasure to run to the field carrying a quart jar of ice water in a paper sack a couple of times a day. I remember to this day how important I felt helping out. No better childhood memories than dad reaching his big hand down and grasping my little hand, gently lifting me up beside him on the big tractor. I would pretend to drive while dad drank his water. But when dad said, “well, girl that really hit the spot I knew it was time to jump down and scamper to the edge of the field. I would stand and watch as he skillfully maneuvered the lumbering equipment back toward the other end before I hurried back to the house to see what else I could do.

Long before I was 16 I already knew how to plant and harvest, which foods were good to eat, how to wash, prepare, cook or can/freeze them for later. Lot of bending, lifting, and working with dangerous equipment involved so listening and following instructions, then being diligent to finish a job was required. I had to think things through and come up with better ways of getting the jobs done. So many amazing things were gained by working on the family farm. We had to work with animals and plants, how to protect, feed, and benefit from nature rather than abuse it.

I knew it was important to share with our neighbors (what a concept, no one told us we had to do it, we really enjoyed helping folks out). Sometimes our neighbors had more than us and they helped us out. I knew not to waste anything, next season might not be as good. There were bugs, heat, cold, and some years were dry some were wetter and we just knew it was under God’s control and we just had to work with Him. We didn’t blame the government and name it global warming or climate change, it just is what it is. You learn stuff like that, important stuff working on the family farm. We even recycled, before it got popular. Those paper cartons/bags (the ones made from the trees we reproduced, not oil we buy from the Middle East) were reusable for so many things. Not rocket science, Grandma called it common sense.

When I went off to college I still came home and worked on the family farm as often as I got the chance. When my three brothers and I all graduated, (in four years each….because there wasn’t time or money to just play around), there were no student loans. My dad had a budget and we all lived with what we had. The money we all worked for took care of the important needs and we were grateful . We knew very well that money was not to be squandered but used to create wealth, make another crop, and save for hard times. We didn’t spend money we didn’t have or borrow what we couldn’t pay back. Growing up working on the family farm gave me understanding of these life principles.

Oh, we really didn’t need to belong to the gym. Physical exercise was included right along with the work we did. There are just countless benefits to kids working on the family farm.

I had been wondering what was wrong with you, Mr. President, now I think I know. You didn’t have the opportunity to grow up in America on a family farm. I still think there is hope for you. When you are replaced as Commander in Chief, by someone with more experience maybe you can get a job on a family farm. Not sure who would hire you. You think you are in good shape but you look kind of frail. Starting so late in life will be a real challenge. You will find out you’ll be really sore and it won’t be easy but your hands will toughen up and maybe you can still get the hang some of it. I’m sorry you didn’t have the opportunities some of us had. The whole country would be in much better shape if you had been allowed to work on the family farm. Just because you didn’t get to please don’t prevent others from growing up strong, healthy, and learning to be responsible.

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