A lot of people have asked me how I like home schooling my kids through this pandemic. My answer is always the same: “The best part about it is that I get to spend a lot of time with my kids; however, the worst part is that I have to spend a lot of time with my kids!” I say it jokingly, knowing that an opportunity to spend this much quality time with your kids never comes around . . . but seriously, when are they going back to school?
In the meantime, I have learned some things about my oldest. He is way too much like me.
I noticed that he was having trouble focusing in “school” and was having a terrible time falling asleep at night. We were all but ready to take him to the doctor when I realized the shift in dynamics that I didn’t take into account. Because of the fires ravishing California, the smoke has made the air so ashy that playtime outside has become unsafe. Due to this, he has not been able to exert any of that amazing energy that he has. But never fear, this dad has a plan . . . and a dairy with chores!
Waking up early to go to work is starting to hurt a little more than normal, but when I woke him up before the sun was even thinking about making an appearance, he was nothing but smiles. That boy worked harder with a bigger smile than I have ever seen. For a 7-year-old, staying up late is normally the thing to do, but waking up early to work with his dad seemed to rival that in the best ways.
I had heavy duty chains to move that weighed three times more than him, a tractor to be moved with no ride back, and cows to herd all in the dark. This little guy was booking it with no complaints, loving every minute of it. When we got back home, as the sun started to rise, he ate a little more breakfast and started plugging away at his homework with a laser focus.
I know things are not perfect right now, but having the ability to raise my kids next to me on the farm, giving them the opportunities to not only learn schoolwork but adult skills simultaneously, is something easily taken for granted. I am thankful for the blessing to spend more time with my kids and also the ability to bring them to work with me.
What are you thankful for?
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.