It has happened! I taught a child to drive a tractor (supervised, of course)! I am not sure I could be more proud!
Growing up on the dairy, I took for granted all the things I was taught at such an early age. I learned how to weld, run plumbing, basic electrical work, as well as skilled driving, to name a few. As a farm kid gets older, they are tasked with driving a bunch of different equipment and vehicles that all have unique nuances, shifting patterns, and stopping distances. Growing up I really didn’t give it much thought, but now I understand how important a lot of these skills really are.
When a farm kid gets older, they not only have a multitude of different trade skills, but they also have the ability to problem solve and fix things on the fly. There is no situation that cannot be tackled. It’s the power of the farm kid.
As my boy helped me yank out trees and move debris, I realized that I trusted him more than I do most adults in that same seat. With only a little experience, he drove meticulously through obstacles carrying large loads, wearing the biggest dirt-covered smile a boy could muster. I wasn’t the only one who was proud.
Many of us have memories of those who taught us to drive and our first “big” jobs. As farm kids get older, the jobs get even bigger, and this is when the real learning begins. One of the most important lessons learned early on is to never quit. Even when things get tough, you can fight right through it. No matter what happens, you have the grit and perseverance to push through.
Perseverance is probably one of the most important traits of a farm kid. I’m looking forward to teaching my kids this through leading by example.
Tyler Ribeiro is a fourth-generation dairy farmer born and raised in California. He is currently partners with his father at Rib-Arrow Dairy in Tulare where they proudly ship their milk to Land O’Lakes. Tyler is actively involved in the dairy industry, holding leadership roles in various organizations locally and across the United States.