I've figured out this amazing source of free farm labour.
These people are overflowing with energy. They listen, learn and actually do as instructed (unlike most every help we've paid money for). They are enthusiastic, and great at motivating me to keep on working. Sure, they are a bit short, and need someone working with them at all times, but their attention span is longer than most humans I've met. They cost nothing to hire, in fact people often pay me money or food.
This labour force: other people's children.
I'm of an age where... don't tell anyone... my peers are starting to feel the pressure of their biological clock. Friends I thought I would be single and fancy free forever, are suddenly settling down and having children. I'm not one of those women who want babies. To be completely honest, I have no idea what to do with these things called children. I tell the parents this, they brush it off and say I'll be fine and they will be back in four hours.
Here I am, responsible for a life I don't understand for the next four hours. No idea what to do. But it looks like a human, only smaller, so I start treating it like I do adult humans. It seems to like this.
Now, the weather is good for the first time in weeks, and there are all this stuff I want to do in the garden. So I take this small human creature outside with me, put a hat on it and teach it how to eat peas while I do some work. When full of peas, kale and chard, this creature wants to know what I'm doing... then it wants to help. I show it... it starts working... and keeps working... and keeps working until it's all done. Same with the next task. Before we know it, the parent arrives, makes me lunch, and take my worker away.
I seem to be getting a collection of these temporary workers. One comes to walk the goats with me, another helped plan the garden and decide which seeds needed purchasing, a third digs and weeds, and a fourth is responsible for tomato plant care. No lounging around the house for me when these enthusiastic energy balls come to visit.
According to these parental units, this kind of focus is unusual in their kids. I've never seen these small humans anything but focused on the farm. I attribute it to me not knowing how to treat children as children. They seem quite happy being treated as small adults (so long as there are safeties in place so they don't get injured). I've even held them accountable for their actions.
One of these little workers broke something, so we stopped farming and he had to help me take the thing apart and discover what was wrong with it. Then we brainstormed ideas on how it can be fixed, or how it can be useful in it's broken state. Once a decision was made, we implemented it, then went back to farming. I've never had an adult worker willing to take responsibility for their actions like this, so it was a new experience for me too.
I'm completely honest with the parents of what I'm doing with the kids... I worry they don't want their children returned all tired out, but the parents seem to think it's a 'learning experience' and not really work at all.
Kyrt Ryder wrote:Though one does wonder if the quality of this labor force might be having an impact on your feelings regarding children.
I'm actually thrilled with their work. They are much better than just about any adult I've had help out on the farm. Most adults seem to already know what they think I'm going to say and do something exactly the opposite of what I just said. The children on the other hand, stop and listen to what I want done, then ask questions, then do it with me.
I only know a few of these young people, but if they all turn out to be like this, I might consider adopting one or two later in life. If I have a situation that is stable enough and find a significant other with similar intentions. No interest in having a child of my own, but there are a lot of young ones without a permanent home. It is something that would take a lot more consideration, but in the meantime, I'm very happy babysitting borrowing these kids to help out on the farm.
I love your shared discovery!
I have also witnessed this phenomenon when I bake at church. Minions crawl out of the woodwork. Usually they are scheduled to be elsewhere, but I have no time to take them there and they are keen to help.My best one has half a dozen pizza events under her belt,more than any adult helper besides the wife,who is more of a front of the house type anyway..
I was recently enlisted to teach a large bunch of these minions how to make pizza in a more manner.
I was concerned they would putter away the time playing with dough and pile on sauce and cheese,and generally not listen....
Turns out they really wanted pizza, so they all listened when I told them what would get it into their gullets fastest, and cranked out great pies at breathtaking speeds. We all of them except for one...MY daughter spent most of an hour artfully designing and redesigning her master peice, just as I had expected, and projected onto the rest of the minions.
BUT, I can only imagine how she would be for someone else. My son pretty much never lifts a hand to help at our church, but he is johny on the spot at the other THREE churchs he attends...
Have fun with your minions, and keep in mind breeders like myself are often happy to settle for house devils so if we get street angles out of the deal!
mmm, pizza and kids. Sounds like a blast.
Is it just me, or are children better at understanding cause and effect over time? We eat the toppings before the pizza is cooked, we don't get such good pizza. I don't know many real life adults that can think that far ahead. (although I'm sure everyone here is much better at it than my real life people)
Before my friends started creating these children, I never thought I would want to spend time near this kind of creature. I mean, children are noisy, sticky and just annoying... right? All they want to do is play and make a mess... right?
Boy was I wrong. I spilt some soil the other day, kid was helping me start some seeds in pots. Boy was I in trouble with this five year old. He made me get the vacuum out and we spent the next two hours cleaning the floor. To be honest, he did have a point, I need to vacuum more. And of course, he missed bits in his enthusiasm, but got places I can't reach, so it evens out. He got to learn how vacuuming the hardwood floor is different than at home where they have carpet. He learned how to scratch the floor, then we taught him how not to scratch it. It was...all sorts of words come to mind, but 'amazing' I think works best. He seems to desire order in his surroundings, and vacuuming our house gave him that. In exchange I made him draw pictures of what he did so he could show his mum. She seemed good with it and for some reason happy to have a very tired kid returned to her.
Basically, I don't really understand why these children want to 'work' and do what I'm doing instead of hanging out and playing. "no, we don't play now, let's work!" he says. That's not how I remember my childhood.
(edit: that's a funny auto link - 'f word' from 'of words'. made me laugh)
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
posted 4 years ago
It's easy to forget that eagerness to do something meaningful, but it's a pretty fundamental part of most children.
Often parents and the education system slowly beat that out of the kids until all they understand is grades, college, career, marriage, babies and then doing the same thing to their own children. Sometimes it feels like all this is deliberately engineered to strip away the creativity and productive drive out of individuals within society.
While kids do enjoy playing, they love 'doing stuff' and 'helping' and receiving praise for doing so and learning something in the process.
10 Podcast Review of the book Just Enough by Azby Brown