Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Thursday 24 August 2017

Opinion: Why farmers make great fathers

All Look left at Carnew Mart. Little Harry Grufferty has a birds eye view of the cattle as the leave the ring at Carnew Mart on Saturday 14th Jan. Photo Roger Jones.
All Look left at Carnew Mart. Little Harry Grufferty has a birds eye view of the cattle as the leave the ring at Carnew Mart on Saturday 14th Jan. Photo Roger Jones.
The heart of farming is the same as the heart of a happy home, it's all about nurturing and caring,
Ann Fitzgerald

Ann Fitzgerald

Farmers make great fathers.

In saying this, I mean farmer dads in general, and absolutely include the father of my own children.

A big help is the flexible working hours.

In many families, the mother is working off the farm and so it is often the dad who does the school drop-offs and pick-ups, he who is at the end of the phone when someone has to come home sick, the first to hear the inevitable tales of woe.

But it's during the summer that being one's own boss really benefits your kids.

The majority of those in the workforce have to book their holidays months in advance and spend their time praying for fine weather.

For a farmer, when the mercury suddenly shoots through the roof on a Tuesday in late July, he can down tools (unless he's going at silage) and head off to the beach with the family.

Part of it will certainly involve being a beast of burden, for the picnic, deck chairs, towels and all the other usual beach paraphernalia.


He might then have a dip in the sea, dig a hole, build a sandcastle, kick a football and generally have some fun, soaking up the rays, maybe even sneaking a little nap; followed by the obligatory soggy chips and ice-cream.

Later, he may have to turn into milking the cows at some ungodly hour but will do so fortified with the comfort of having enjoyed a family day out and created a precious childhood memory.

Then, if a farmer's son or daughter needs something to be made or repaired, there is a good chance that their dad will not only have the tool or material to do it, or something to improvise, but that he will be able to use it.

Or when kids come within sniffing distance of being legally allowed to drive, they will have no difficulty in getting their dad to give them a driving lesson. Sure the best place to practise a bit of towing is with the tractor and roller on poached land.

And there will be plenty of that around whenever it dries up after the extended rainy spell!

Farmers are also a great source of pets, such as pet lambs or calves. That they are saving him a job is, of course, incidental.

However, surely the best thing that farmers bring to the table is their outlook on life.

The majority of farmers will never live the high life.

Their clothes are more likely to be dirty than flashy, their drink a swig of water from the tap in the yard than a skinny latte.

But life will have taught them what's precious and what's a load of bull.

They encounter all sorts of people, the good eggs and the shysters.

So they tend to have a grounded wisdom.

They also encounter all sorts of challenging situations, so little fazes them. Not for them the fainting at the sight of their child being born.

A good sense of humour is also compulsory.

But - sentimentality alert - the heart of farming is the same as the heart of a happy home, it's all about nurturing and caring, ie love.

For those biblically minded, see 1 Corinthians. It says that love is "patient, kind, not easily angered, always protects, always hopes, always perseveres".

Next Sunday is Father's Day.

Its easy to dismiss the various card-buying occasions as commercial nonsense. But that should not take from the worthiness of the cause. So, if not this day, then pick another and go celebrate it, in whatever way suits you best.


For Stories Like This and More
Download the FarmIreland App


Indo Farming