It’s been a long time since I left the family farm out in Ohio. I find myself frequently asking the question, “Where did 55 years go?” When we were young, we were always looking forward to something: high school graduation, college, turning twenty one, getting married, and raising a family.
Fathers determine the mold that guides their son’s lives as they grow older. Although I never wanted to farm as a career, his teachings have followed me all through my working life. My father thought that it was better to make the most of what you have rather than to borrow money and expand too fast. His satisfaction came from having weedless fields of corn with all of the corn stalks the same height, and from his corn rows being “straight as an arrow” as one drove by his fields. His “straight as an arrow” rows of corn were created by stretching a wire the length of the field and then having the tractor and corn planter carefully follow the stretched wire. He once told me “that there were many men who can load corn bundles onto a wagon faster than he but few of them would still be in the field at the end of the day”. And so he set a steady pace for himself to work from before the sun came up to after the sun went down, day after day.
Farm tractors have always held a special interest to me as I learned to drive our old SC Case tractor when I was five years old. It was a significant event in my life as now this young boy suddenly became a man who could till the ground and pull a wagon load of hay into the barn just like any other man.
Being a father today is much more difficult as fathers struggle to provide for their families and that struggle frequently takes them all over the world, leaving them precious little time to be with their families. So for all fathers this Fathers Day, take a little time to reflect on how your father influenced your life when you were growing up – not only in the way that you make your living but also in the way that you care for your children.