Children, Chickens, Weeds & Work

If you’re already confused, stick with me.

This post includes:

  • 5 cent chickens (300 of them)
  • CSA (Community Shared Agriculture)
  • Weeds
  • Grumbling children
  • Tough life lessons

My husband had news for us when I showed up at the Pawnshop with the kids.

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He had just volunteered us (Me and the children) to help an older man with his farm.  The man is a friend of ours and he has a huge garden (for a CSA) that he is trying to tackle pretty much alone.  We have offered to help him in the past and he always has said,  “No.”

Yesterday, he (Mr. Friend) called DH and asked if we could come out an give him a hand.

DH said, “We would love to.”

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Guess what happened when we told the kids that they were going to go weed a CSA farm?

………….. “Grumble, groan, whine, complain.”

“Grumble, groan, whine, complain” was not the correct response.  DH was not pleased with his beloved offspring.

The rest of the conversation (and day) went something like this:

  • “You guys need to be willing to help.”
  • “You guys need to be willing to help others because it’s the right thing to do.”
  • “You guys need to be willing to help someone just to be nice.”
  • “Not because you like it.  Not because you want to.  Not because you are getting paid.  Not because you are getting food or candy.”
  • “You need to help him because he’s our friend and he needs help.”

Don’t you just wish you could have been a child in this house that day?  Trust me, you do not.

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The bottom line is that our family had an opportunity to be a blessing to someone else.

This was one of those times when “actions precede beliefs.”

“What on earth does that mean?” You ask…….

Sometimes you need to do something (actions) first before you will believe (beliefs) it is right.  “Actions precede beliefs.”

Our kids did not believe weeding a CSA farm was going to bless them, make them happy, or benefit them in any way.

They needed to go weed the farm.

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I recently learned about a study that was performed.  I am going to totally mess up the original study, I’m sure, but here’s the net-net:

The folks involved in the study were given assignments for 2 days.  Day one was a “serve myself” day.  Day two was a “serve others” day.

  1. On the first day they got to lavishly spoil themselves.  They could spend it any way they wanted (within reason) doing whatever pleased them.  Massage, spa, shopping, eating, relaxing, attending sports events, watching movies, swimming, whatever they wanted to do.  Spend the entire day enjoying themselves.
  2. The second day they spent helping someone else.  They were told to pick someone (or some venture) to volunteer to help.  They spent the entire day working for free helping the person or business.  The entire day was spent unselfishly helping others.  No pay.  No freebies.  No benefit for them.

At the end of each day they journaled about their day and how they felt.

Can you guess how these folks were feeling at the end of  the “serve myself” day?

Guess how they felt at the end of the “serve others” day?

It was pretty much unanimous.  At the end of the day they spent serving others the participants were full of joy, happy, fulfilled, and energetic.  The journal entries were filled with enthusiasm and satisfaction.

The journal entries after the “serve myself” day were quite the opposite.  Participants were feeling exhausted, drained & empty.

Interesting.  Serving others brought joy.  Serving themselves brought unhappiness.

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These are tough lessons in a world of:

  • Look out for #1
  • Do what feels good
  • You only go around once
  • Love yourself
  • Respect yourself
  • If it feels good do it
  • If it makes you happy it can’t be that bad

We are Christians.  We want our children to love others because they are loved.  We want them to learn to do things out of love, not selfish gain.  It goes against (most) everything in our culture, however, (we know) serving others will bring fulfillment and joy.

Our kiddos needed some, “Actions precede beliefs” in the weeding department.

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After the warm words and loving encouragement from DH …….. BOY did our little groaning children change their tunes.

DH also explained to them that if they whine, complain, or ask questions like:  “How much longer do we have to do this?”  “When can we be done?” “How many more weeds to I have to pull?”  “When can we leave?”  it will make Mr. Friend feel bad and wish he hadn’t asked us to come over.

Not only do you need to help just because he’s our friend and he needs help.  You need to do it with a happy attitude.  Wee!

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I am pleased to report that the kids did a great job helping Mr. Friend.  The weeds were big and the work was hard.  The kids were troopers.  They weeded, they picked, they helped.  We tried to refuse any sort of payment, but Mr. Friend sent us home with a box of (organic) sweet corn and another box filled with meat chickens.

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Mr. Friend got 300 chicks for 5 cents each.  Don’t ask me how.  He was thrilled to bless us with some (22 to be exact).

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So, I got sent home with a box of chicks to feed to the raccoons and opossums.  Meat chickens don’t harmonize with our homestead.  Ugh.  That’s another post entirely.  More on my meat chicken adventures coming soon.

Anyhow, we helped a friend who needed help. Our family got to be a blessing.  They get to help out a friend.  They got to pull thousands of weeds.  It was a great day.

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And just keep swimming!

-Candi

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