Just for Dads ~ November 2022

by Ward Williams
Executive director, Vineyard Family Services

If I were to tell you a story of my recent drive through the backroads of Eastern Illinois and Western Indiana, it would be a very corny one. There was corn everywhere on this drive, and it looked ready to be harvested. The corn fields reminded me of my deep appreciation of farmers and their impact on our culture. Agriculture and related industries were the predominate occupation for families and communities in the United States 150 years ago. According to the 1950 U.S. Census, the percentage of farmers decreased from 50% of all U.S. workers in 1870 to less than 20% in 1950. Farmers have been models of hard work, resilience, and problem solving, living in community through their ability to cultivate the land for good. According to Merriam-Webster, the two definitions of the word “cultivate” are “to prepare soil for use and raising of crops; and to improve by labor, care, or study.”

Lessons that we have learned from farmers on cultivating can help families today. 

  1. One of the most important lessons is that we should first prepare ourselves for having a family before we start a family. How you prepare is to begin with the end in mind. What do I want the kids to look like when they leave my house? What can I do to build a strong marriage that will impact and cause my children to want and strive for a strong marriage of their own one day? Once we build a family, we then take on the task of preparing our children to have healthy families.
  2. The next lesson to take from farmers is to continually learn from those who came before us. Farmers learn from those who came before them. Great-grandparents and grandparents have important lessons to share, and we can use those to our benefit. It is important to learn from others’ mistakes and their triumphs.
  3. We should understand advances in technology and use them to our advantage. Technology can be helpful, and we should use it and teach our children to use it to accomplish goals.
  4. We must adjust based on current situations. Sometimes everything goes right, and sometimes it seems like there are constant obstacles. Farmers are pulling weeds when they must and working constantly to build to soil to provide healthy crops. The soil of your family should be rich and packed with the life and nutrients needed to grow your family.
  5. We should judge the finished product. We often give up before we get to the end. In order to judge the finished product, you need to first know what you want it to be and look like. What character traits, morals, and values do you want your children to have when they go to college? Talk about it, make a plan to implement it, and make sure you value it.  

Photograph by Loren King on Unsplash

Last thought: Galatians 6:9 states, “Let us not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time, we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”

Ward Williams is the founder and executive director of Vineyard Family Services. Contact him at ward@vfsdads.com.


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