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Raising Children PDF Print E-mail
Written by Harold Fink II Father of Harold Fink III and Robert Fink   
Tuesday, 23 February 2010 15:04

Raising Children

What better blessing from God than to have the opportunity to raise a child? The opportunity to raise more than one!

Raising children is as hard as we want to make it. Perhaps, if we had not a care in the world what became of our children, raising a child would be effortless, for we could apply little or no effort in guiding our children through their young lives. However, I consider raising children to be work, and I, more often than not, find it to be enjoyable work. It can be fun work, but it still requires a conscious effort on the part of the parents to both provide for and be there for our children. There are so many challenges in raising children that I thought it best to try and describe how much joy it has brought both myself and my wife, Gina, my brother and sisters, and our parents.

It has been said that if not for the pleasure of intimacy, there would be no parents raising children, and I would have to say that I agree. Anyone that has witnessed childbirth can clearly say that there can be much pain associated with the birth of a child, and it is part of God's infinite wisdom that child birth be so wonderful an experience for us to know full well the challenges that lay ahead for the parents. I can think of no more uplifting an experience than to see the miracle of life being given not just to the young soul having been born, but to the parents assigned with the task that is now at hand. Children require immediate attention when they are newborn, and part of our goal as parents should always be to try to give to our children what they need to actually require less and less from us as they grow up. As infants, our children present constant reminders to us of our responsibilities, but it is also an enormous opportunity to allow these little people to bond with us and feel completely confident with us as parents and protectors of their new world.

As an older father, now 50, of one child that has grown up already, I must admit I am enjoying Harold Fink III, age 6, and Robert Fink, age 3, much more now than I would have when I was much younger and trying to raise a child. I am enjoying these days of their lives much more because I know full well that these days are fleeting, that these little people will continue to grow, with God's blessing, into young adults and then be prepared to go on their way. What better gift than to have your child respect you and tell you that they love you or that you will always be their best friend? I must admit I like that our children want to be home and doing fun things with mommy and daddy. Our farm presents lots of opportunities and challenges that young minds find fascinating. Nature abounds before us and is part of God's infinite wisdom in displaying the miracle of life in its many forms. There is no playground or Nintendo necessary. We are on God's playground. Part of raising children is making sure the children have a leader to follow, and there are times when discipline is necessary, but we try to be swift and strategic with exercise of discipline, and know that our children are better able to grow up and be successful in life if they know there are rules to follow.

We also are quite swift with praise and acknowledgement of our children when they display good behavior and a readiness to practice God's given talents. I once had a remarkable man for a boss when I was discharged from the Marine Corps in Hawaii, and this is what I remember him telling me: "It is not your duty as a parent to get your children to do what you want them to do, but instead to notice their natural talents and nurture those talents for them, to allow them to fully use that which they have been gifted with". While that may seem overly simple, and perhaps outright wrong to some in certain moments of raising a child, it is in fact, very sage advice. An example of this would be the proud, demanding parent at the side of the field, commanding Johnny to do better at the plate, when in fact, baseball may not be what Johnny wants to do at all, or better yet, Johnny may not be capable of providing the father with the intended outcome at the plate. I realize there are countless moments when we all must do what we don't really want to do. I am talking more about giving the children enough of life's experiences that it will become abundantly clear to us as parents what it is that God has gifted the children with, and to allow them to pursue a goal or goals which utilize their gifts. This is a challenge to us as parents to try and make time for many, many different life experiences that allow our children to exhibit their God given talents. This can also be quite fun.

Part of what makes anything more enjoyable in life is knowing how difficult it was to get there. Difficulties in raising children include not knowing what to do when difficult behavior is encountered in a child. Well let me say this: "There are lots of perfect parents out there, and most of them have no children". Or perhaps this: "The safest way to never make a mistake in life is to do nothing". OK, so I said it. If you are in an environment where others are there to pass judgement on your child rearing capabilities, remember that no one is perfect. As long as you do not bring physical harm to your children, it is safe to remember that we are human beings completely capable of making mistakes, and I guarantee you that you will feel humbled many times in public with the behavior of your children. The blessings may come in behavior that is quite humorous and make you the envy of those without children, or the blessings may come in behavior that is quite challenging for us, knowing the eyes of all are upon you. So, just remember to pray for God's guidance when you don't know what to do. If for nothing else, pray for the patience and understanding required of a parent when children do not do what we want them to do. Pray for the guidance from God that we may better understand what we must do in better guiding these little people through their early lives, and give us the courage to do what is necessary, knowing full well there will always be someone out there who sees it as a mistake. Part of the blessings that we enjoy as parents in America is the freedom of raising our children as we see fit, within reason, and it is incumbent upon us as worthy parents to provide the most fertile soil for these little minds to plant their own seeds.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 February 2010 16:20
 
Farming PDF Print E-mail
Written by Harold Fink Locksmith and Farmer   
Tuesday, 23 February 2010 13:43

Farming is hard work. More importantly, farming requires many skills that casual observers driving by at 65 mph may not even begin to realize that modern farmers need to be blessed with. While I make no claim to be a farmer in terms of what most people would define a farmer to be, with animals and hundreds of acres of crops rotated each year, I do make claim that our tiny little farm in Church Hill is our own little piece of heaven on earth where we are able to practice the skills necessary to grow Paulownia Trees. Our farm fulfills a need for timber which is most sought after for its unique qualities, Paulownia Tomentosa, used in stringed musical instruments, and a need for our own global health, which includes absorption of carbon dioxide gases from the atmosphere.

Farming requires an understanding of all the tools that are required to do any specific task in farming. Small engines must be maintained and the equipment, such as tractors, skidsteers, loaders and chippers all have small engines that must be repaired when they don't work. Any successful farmer may not be able to "farm out" this type of work, for lack of funds, and it becomes one more skill possessed by the farmer when a diagnosis is achieved and the rythym of said mechanical device is once again restored. Additionally, farming often requires brute physical force of individuals, and it is for this reason that I consider farming to be part of our fitness program. As we continue to become more successful with the propagation of our paulownia trees, I have witnessed through the years, the countless number of blessings bestowed upon farmers in our own neighboring communities.

It can be without question that many of the first racing car drivers and enthusiasts of racing were farmers. This is because successful modern farmers are very dependent on productive equipment, which requires knowledge and understanding of its workings just to successfully operate it. Part of the daily life of any modern successful "producer" is the proper maintenance of some very large and expensive equipment which is clearly on the scale of heavy equipment. A combine is absolutely necessary for effective and efficient harvesting of crops, and it may cost upwards of $250,000 for a newer one. Equipment used behind the tractors to prepare the soil for planting, and to plant seed is not cheap either. All of this equipment must be understood and not destroyed during its operation. A modern producer simply cannot afford to make mistakes and the blessings of learning how to maintain farm equipment clearly explain how so many race car drivers were born on a farm.

Modern farmers of "row crops" such as wheat, soybeans and corn depend on a series of steps to be performed properly in order to be profitable. The first step that comes to my mind is the knowledge required of what to plant, what type of seed, and what chemicals or fertilizers will be required to plant a crop that can be expected to grow in the local area successfully, with a minimum of input costs, maximum output, or yield, of a crop that can be expected not to be consumed by insects. This knowlege can only be achieved through years of experience, close counsel with extension offices and peers, and the local providers of chemicals and fertilizers, whose combined knowledge dictate "what is working" in their area. The modern farmer is both a mechanic and a chemist, or agronomist, by virtue of his close association with the professionals whose lives depend on providing productive seed, chemicals and fertilizers. On today's productive farms, I would venture to say that it would be nearly impossible to be productive and profitable without a thorough understanding of the chemicals being applied and what they are being used for. The proper amounts of chemicals to be applied, and when to alternate, or use another chemical in order to avoid having insects develop a tolerance for said chemical, must be understood in order to avoid overapplication, which can be costly not only in terms of input costs, but in costs to the environment as well.

Modern farmers must always be focused on production and the productive use of their time, or they will not be successful producers. Part of the challenge to modern farmers is an understanding of markets and the impact that current bids for any given commodity have on their planting strategies. It is not so simple as just to plant the same as last year. Because bid prices for commodities constantly change, as well as the input costs for successful production of said commodity, it becomes abundantly clear that it is the farmer who can so easily get squeezed in a difficult market environment. If the bid price for a commodity dictates that a specific crop should be planted instead of another, the input costs of the chemicals required to successfully grow that crop must also be calculated to determine ahead of time if that were the best crop to plant. In the recent past, prices of diesel fuel and fertilizers were ramping up right along with the bid prices of commodities, but if the bid price of the commodity were to fall while the input costs are still being paid by the farmer, it would not take long before the most adept, financially conscious farmers may realize it makes no sense to even attempt to plant a crop. This type of scenario creates a cash flow problem for the producer, as he or she is often required to put up the cost of chemicals and fertilizers long before he or she is paid for the crop they hope to harvest. This is also why the most successful farmers have long had a strong need to store their products, in hopes of capitalizing on more advantageous market conditions for the sale of their crops. Even if a farmer has the capability to store commodities, it still becomes part of their skillset to know when to sell how much of their product.

While we may all enjoy the ride along the rural highway that displays such activities that seem to be without any care in the world, modern farmers face a myriad of challenges that make me have the utmost of respect for successful farmers. There are so many decisions to be made and so many ways to fail that to even make it to harvest is actually quite an accomplishment. As beautiful as the scene from within our car windows may appear as we pass, we must never forget that every successful society has always had an effective, efficient agricultural base at its heart. Without successful farmers, our modern society would soon fail. It is incumbent upon all of us who understand the difficulties which face modern farmers to remember that farmers were the first environmentalists and they may have much more understanding of the delicate balance of our environment than many are prepared to acknowledge. One should never assume that a farmer only sits on a tractor and six months later drives his crop to market. If it were that simple, everyone would want to do it, and it probably would not be worth doing.

 

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 February 2010 14:33