We don’t raise chickens. We raise children.

The feeling of relief and accomplishment was palatable as we broke from our perched views inside and went back to our own chores. With success now obtained, we all laughed as we recalled the struggle, the agony, and the anguish.

With great exertion, he inched his way across the grassy path towards the fence gate, barely able to maintain his grip on the flimsy bag. Finally, exasperated, he dropped the bag of chicken food at his feet. He rested for but a second. Then, in frustration, he kicked the heap, over and over until he was too tired to continue.

Standing there exhausted, his eyes rose to see the gate’s latch. Stepping over the mound of food, he reached and unlocked the clasp, turning his attention back to the task at hand.

As I peered out the window, watching my 11-year-old boy struggle, I desperately wanted to rush out and help with the remaining 75 feet he had to travel. I could easily throw the 50-pound sack on my shoulder and carry it the rest of the way. My wife, also witnessing this event, fought her urges as she saw her little boy struggling, fighting, and nearly giving up.

“Oh, how sad!” she exclaimed with somberness and concern.

“It’s okay,” I said, also feeling the same instincts. “It’s okay; he can do it. Just wait and watch.”

By this time, my three daughters had also pressed their noses against the kitchen windows as they watched their brother finally reach down and grab the unruly mess from the ground. He pulled up with his might, and continued his inch-by-inch journey, slowly shuffling along another foot, then two, then three.

Again, the bag dropped from his tired fingers and arms. The beads of sweat rolled from his brow and down his cheeks as he straightened up with fatigue.

We all watched with great anticipation. But now, our comments of pity had turned to thoughts of encouragement.

“Come on, Jack. You can do it,” I thought in my mind. “Keep going; you’re almost there.”

His sisters laughed, but their love for their brother softened their playfulness and they too were torn by their desires to both help and embolden their brother.

Looking down at the load and then looking back up to the finish line, he slowly turned around. His arms too tired to lift any longer, he grabbed the ends of the bag and paused. Summing up what energy he had left, the bag slowly moved as he shuffled backwards dragging the bag one inch at a time. The bag started sliding easier now that it was lying on the paved pathway of the barn.

The feeling of relief and accomplishment was palatable as we broke from our perched views inside and went back to our own chores. With success now obtained, we all laughed as we recalled the struggle, the agony, and the anguish.

As he made his way back into the house later, I asked him if he finished his chores, including feeding the chickens and collecting the eggs.

“Did you get the chicken feed out to the birds?” I asked.

“Yep,” he confidently replied.

“Did you have any problems doing so?” I inquired, offering him an opening to discuss both the challenge and the triumph.

“Nope!” he said with an even greater sense of assurance and self-reliance.

“We saw you kicking the bag of food!” his sister blurted out with gaiety and accusation.

We all started to laugh, including Jack, who is always humble, and never too serious about himself and often ventures into a bit of self-deprecation.

“Well, the bag was really heavy,” he said with a big toothy grin.

Fresh eggs. That’s why we do it. At least that is what everyone thinks. Yes, the fresh eggs are wonderful, and the Savages eat a lot of eggs…a LOT of eggs.

But in the end, Jen and I don’t raise fresh eggs. We don’t even raise chickens. What we try to do, is raise great children. As a parent, letting my children struggle through the hard things in life, brings me more joy than when their path is easy. They can do hard things because they are great, and because we let them do hard things.

 

Author: savagestrong

Husband. Father. Entrepreneur. Business owner. Communicator. Leader.

One thought on “We don’t raise chickens. We raise children.”

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