I don't have an idyllic vision of sitting on a porch in the country, sipping iced tea and watching children run back and forth through a perfectly manicured lawn - I don't even like iced tea or manicured lawns! I see the family bending and crawling over vegetable garden rows, pulling weeds out of the dirt, removing caterpillars from cabbage leaves, spreading compost and mulch around plants, and harvesting food. I see climbing a few steps into the house, carrying baskets heavy with harvest and being sore but having to clean and prep everything to can or otherwise preserve half of the harvest to eat in the winter months. I see us going to bed, maybe still covered in dirt and muck, collapsing into bed and sleeping soundly through the dark of night until the sun peeks over the hills and we get out of bed to do it all again.
Our sons should learn to work hard, learn that a job well done means so much more than a paycheck at the end of the work week and heading to a bar to drink half of that money away or to a mall to buy over priced clothes sewn in a sweat shop half a world away. It should mean healthy food, strong bodies, good sleep. It should mean living surrounded by things that are meant to be thrown away at first sign of damage, but instead repaired.
I don't want them to grow up seeing manual labor as something beneath them. I want them to grow up shoveling out barns, building things, cleaning things, growing things and caring for animals and their family. They can learn that manual labor is not only needed but also fulfilling and honorable. We should respect the men and women who work with their hands to keep society going. Instead our younger generations view it as something for uneducated people or ne'er-do-wells to do. Plumbers and electricians being portrayed in media as stupid, with butts hanging out of ill-fitting clothes and unable to form proper sentences or whole words. My boys will know that this portrayal is a false narrative.
They can help muck out animal stalls and dig in the dirt to plant or harvest things. They can learn how to use tools and build things up. They can learn how to cook meals, preserve harvests and clean up after themselves.
There will still be time for running around to play, and time for learning. There will even be time for playing video games and watching television. The first two will take up more time than the last, however. The youngest generation doesn't need any more boob-tube glued children.