Red barn wall iron wheel May 2021

I saw a quote on Facebook the other day that was shared: “The hard work we hated as kids made us who we are today.” There was a photo along with it of a young child pushing a lawn mower.  I am talking about the type you actually had to push, put your back into it and push!  Not the self-propelled type that you pull the lever down and walk behind.

I do remember moving the lawn on the farm that very way. I also have a photo of mowing one time with my baby brother, Gil, riding my shoulders.  I would definitely be called for child neglect in this day and age.

If I remember, Gil thought it was fun and it killed two birds, so to speak. I got my job of the lawn mowed and I looked after Gil all at the same time, (I really don’t remember how long he actually rode on my shoulders!)  I also can’t imagine putting my body through such torture.  The weight of Gil on my shoulders and pushing the mower, I was young!  I also don’t remember thinking it was hard work.  I just did it.

Times, they have changed. As children we rode the tractor and combine with our father with only the one metal bar to protect us. We knew what to do and what not to do - did that make us who we are today? Responsible?  As kids, we all had chores to do.  Maybe my parents might remember me complaining, I don’t but I just remember the list was just something we did. Did that prepare us to work today?

Where is our world going? Do any young children really work hard at household chores, or any jobs right now? Are any really given a list to get to each and every week? Has being so protective and implementing all the safety measures made society in general lazy?

I will admit we marvel some times at how we “survived” but that, too, might be said as every generation looks back.  My parents and grandparents rode horses to school.  My parents started out a farm life with very little farm powered equipment.  I remember very few times we walked or rode our bikes to school two miles one way.  Given that was only on a nice day, not a day in the rain, wind or cold. We were mostly driven the two miles to country school, then when middle and high school came, we had a 10-mile trip that was definitely made in a car with heat. Did that make us who we are today?

All over our county right now, I hear there is a shortage of workers. I am currently working on a story for one of the upcoming issues of the Chief about the shortage of the labor force.

In the past five to eight years, there has been growth in housing for the county but still I hear there are no places for people who actually are willing to work in the county to live.  I am hearing of stores that are having to cut their hours because they don’t have enough workers to fill their shifts that they are open - stores that have merchandise received but no one to unload and stock the shelves.  What is the answer?  How did we ever get to this problem?  Are there too many businesses open and too many hours?

If a photo like the one I mentioned above is shared on Facebook in 20 years (if there is a Facebook in 20 years), what will that image conjure up in people’s minds? You might be asking do I have a point?  I am asking is everyone really putting in the days and work now that were put in so many years ago to build these communities we have in Custer County and what is the direction we should be thinking about going? That is all...

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