I spent more than thirteen years raising my four kids and farming the land in northern Missouri.
Technically, I grew up in St. Louis but if you ask me where I feel like I did the most growing and spent the
most informative time in my life, I would say most of those moments were in the country, on the farm,
and on the land that had been in my family for over a century. It’s a part of who I am, who my family
was and who my family is and hopefully will be. It’s in the country, in the land, in the small town values
that we have our roots and where our roots and values remain.
As my kids get older and have kids of their own, I find myself reflecting and looking back. I loved my kids
and am proud of all of them: an attorney, a kindergarten teacher, a financial analyst, and one in
marketing and sales. My kids have great careers and are good people. My grandkids however, my
grandkids are perfect. My grandkids are the most perfect thing there is or will ever be in this world. Do
you think I am proud of them.
I look back and I think about my grandkids and what it used to mean to be a family and to be a kid. I
think about the times when kids could be kids, when children could jump on their bikes and explore with
the only admonishment that they be home in time for dinner. I think of the days when kids could spend
the night camping outside in the great outdoors. I think about the time before cell phones, computers,
television and twenty-four seven news stations. I think about the way I grew up, the way my children
grew up and I think about my grandchildren and what their lives will look like.
We moved to St. Louis when my oldest was eleven. Life is funny because she was the one who was
always the most excited to move to the city, to get out of the small town. At the ripe old age of thirty-
seven years, as a wife and mother, she now looks back to the time spent on the farm, growing up in
Kirksville as the most important years of her life and those she wouldn’t change for anything. Taking her
daughter to the farms to be able to run around in the country is just as important to her as it is to all of
my kids. Those are still some of our greatest times together.
Family is everything and the most important thing in life. However, these days there are so many
demands on people, so many distractions that take away from quality family time. The world my
grandkids are being raised in is not the same one I was raised in or even the same one that my children
were raised in.
Kids cannot jump on their bikes free to explore anymore – it’s too dangerous. Most kids now come from
families where both parents work and so family time is limited. That family time is further infringed
upon by cell phones, televisions, sports activities, social media, it all takes away from time and that’s the
one thing you cannot get back. Time goes so quickly.
My kids will still take refuge as so many should in the country. Out in the great outdoors, away from the
computers, and the televisions, the sports activities, social media, and the dangerous world we seem to
live in now, children can be children and families can be families. It’s only in the country, on the land,
walking through the fields or the forest that one feels truly at peace, that time seems to slow and when
can really truly breathe and feel alive. What a precious, amazing, priceless commodity.
I look forward to the days when my grandkids, like my children before them, and my siblings before me,
can run through the woods with abandon playing capture the flag, or tear through the fields on a four-
wheeler, fish in the lake or jump from the canoe on a hot summer day. I look forward to the day when
they are old enough to hunt with their grandfather, “Pop”, and to see the beauty of the cycle of life
when they see a calf born as another one dies. For now, it is enough to spend that time with my children
hunting and fishing and walking through the woods with my grandkids as they scream when they see a
squirrel or run with only the complete innocent abandon a young child can to grab an osage orange.
People say that life is not the same as it used to be and that children don’t have the chance to be
children any more. They don’t, not in the city. Out in the country, in the woods, on the land, children can
be children the way they were meant to be, the way we were, the way our grandparents were and
families can connect and build memories that last generations.