Just the other day a conversation left me quite frankly speechless. Now those of you who know me well, would say that was impossible. Yes I know most of the time I have something to add or a comment to make, well that changed during a conversation with an acquaintance about ranch life, kids and home schooling.
I am always more than happy to answer questions about our ranch, the cattle industry, beef and kids. Such was the case with this conversation with "John Doe" who shall remain un-named so as to not offend anyone. The usual questions came about, how did you get into ranching, what type of cows do you have, do the kids like living that far from town, etc. Then came the question "Why doesn't your oldest daughter have a job?" At first I thought they were joking, she just turned 13 after all, a little young for a job. When I realized they were not joking I told them all that she does to "work" around the ranch; feeding calves and horses, moving the herd, helping to brand, sort, vaccinate, ship, doctor sick calves, cut wood, break horses and all the other things a ranch kid helps out with around the ranch. John Doe then looked at me and said "No I mean a real job."
Here is where I reached the speechless part! A "real job"? Really, all that stuff I just told him she worked at and helped out with was not a "real job"? Boy would all of the cowboys, ranchers, wives, girlfriends, kids and countless others would find themselves speechless and in shock to find out that they were not working at a "real job"! Once I recovered from my speechless shock, I asked just what does a real job require? How did they define a "real job"? There response was of course something that you got paid to do and had to leave home to go to work.
It just kept getting better! I was by this time not speechless as a fire had been lit and the words where pouring forth. I then asked John Doe so if you work at home now that is not a "real job"? What about the people who volunteer their time to help others? Do stay at home mom's not work? At this point the man was unsure as what direction to take and was looking for a way out of the mess he had made for himself. After he left I was still shocked at someone thinking that ranch or farm kids don't work at real jobs.
I don't know about anyone else but our girls do just as much to help out on the ranch, age allowing, as the adults. Sometimes I think they do more, what with school, music, clubs and the like on top of everything else.
Am I worried that the girls will never get "real jobs"? No if they never go any farther than this ranch to work and raise a family they will have made a wonderful life for themselves and the next generation. The work ethic that kids learn on farms and ranches I think is second to none and maybe if more kids learned it this world would be a better place.
See I told you I am normally not left speechless with nothing to say!