Farm Dad: Park the Tractor and Attend Your Kids’ Events
Sit in the stands. Whenever you can. Even if that means you need to park the tractor and stop what you’re doing back at the farm. Sit in the stands. Even if that means you’re in bib overalls and are literally walking from the cow barn to the school gymnasium. Sit in the stands. I guarantee that your children will scan the bleachers, hoping to see you. And, when they spot dad in the gym, especially on a busy fall night, their smile will stretch wide.
Earlier this week, my husband, Scott, did just that. He rose before the sun, mixed feed, vaccinated heifers, hauled corn and then decided to park the grain cart a little after 5 p.m. and head to our youngest son, Jacob’s 7th-8th grade basketball game. Smelly and all. With holey jeans and baling twine and a shop rag hanging out of his back pocket. Sporting his work boots and a beaten-up and faded Carhartt jacket.
Jacob did not start. In fact, he didn’t play until the fourth quarter, but as he warmed up with the team and spotted dad in the stands, his smile widened and his attitude improved. And, when it was his time to go into the game, down by 20 points, Jacob played as if his life depended on it. All because he wanted to show off for his father.
Friends, park the tractor. Your kids’ smiles will remind you what is truly important in life.
Wisconsin dairy mom, Krista Staudenmaier, agrees in spades. Her husband, Josh, has coached their son's T-ball game every year. While their oldest son is now in 12u, this year Josh chose to coach their middle son’s 10u league.
“T-ball was the reason we switched to 3x a day milking,” she says. “Otherwise, he wouldn’t have made any games. It’s the main reason we have never switched back to 2x a day milking.”
The Staudenmaier’s milk 85 cows and farm 500 acres in Lena, Wis.
New York dairy mom, Taylor Bogardus, shares that her husband, Eric, drove through the night after attending World Dairy Expo, unloaded the cows, parked the truck and immediately went to their toddler’s soccer game.
Taylor & Eric Bogardus on the sideline watching their daughter's soccer game.
“He sat on wet ground,” she says. “We make an effort to make it to our daughter’s event, even though she’s just in the skill-building programs as a tot.”
The Bogardus family milks 70 registered Ayrshires and Holsteins in Sloanville, N.Y.
Park the tractor. Stop what you’re doing and attend your kids’ events. Even if your kids don’t start. Even if you don’t understand the game. Even if the temperature outside isn’t ideal. Farm dads, you know all too well; your farm to-do list will never completely get checked off. And, that your kids grow up fast. I promise you that you being at their school events mean more than you’ll ever realize, sticking with your kids years and years down the road – all because dad made the effort to show up.
By KAREN BOHNERT
October 28, 2022