ADVICE: Always take time for family
In agriculture, it is not easy to shut the tractor off at 5:00 and go to the local fishing hole. No matter what time of year it is, there is always another job that needs to get done. In the spring time we are too busy because of calving, then comes branding and turn out to pasture. Summer comes quickly, the kids are out of school and we have hay to bale (if we are lucky). Before you know it Fall is here and it is time for weaning calves, moving hay and getting the kids back to school. In the few short weeks before the ground freezes, we are busy trying to get those last wood posts into the ground and rotating cows to fall and winter pastures.
A ranching neighbor of ours recently passed away. Like most of us, his life was very busy with everything that farming and ranching requires of us. His loved ones were offered time at the funeral service to stand up and share memories of his life. The common thread through all of these stories was that he always took time to enjoy his family and make them feel special. Whether it was taking kids in the tractor, bringing grandkids along to the sale barn, or attending 4-H shows, he took time out from work to be present in his family member's lives.
Lately, I have found myself stepping back and wondering where time has gone. Not so long ago, my oldest son was 5 years old. He always wanted to spend time riding in the tractor with me. Many times it was not easy nor convenient for me to take him, but I am very glad that I did. It often was the only time I had available because of haying or fieldwork. He is now 14 years old. He has become busy with sports, school and other activities. Before I am ready, he will be leaving for college.
No matter what season it is on the ranch, most of us don't have spare time but that doesn't mean we should work right through our children's youth. We don't have to spend money to spend time with our children. Everyday activities like washing show heifers, making a trip to town for parts, or a quick game of ball in the backyard will make cherished memories and teach values that will last through their adult life. During our on-site meetings with the SD Center for Farm/Ranch Management we discuss not only management decision making, but also a wide variety of other topics. If you have any questions please contact me David Koupal at 605 995-7193 or email David.Koupal@mitchelltech.edu or call 1800 MTI 1969.