Life Lessons


As a child, I don’t think I ever considered what life as an adult was like. The main point that I understood as a child was that adults were in charge, and that I was not.  So, I basically tried to do what I was told and stay out of trouble.  I guess I was so ensconced in my own day-to-day activity that I didn’t really give it much thought.  My childhood days were spent running around the family farm, visiting Grandma and Granddaddy Rieley who lived next door; and, of course, my favorite pastime….rescuing any willing barn cats that were need of some tender loving care.

I suppose if I really think about it, the thing that I most associated with being an adult was being busy.  I grew up on a farm, and all of the adults around me were always busy doing something:  Busy planting a garden, getting-up hay, watering the garden, mowing the grass, weeding the garden, picking vegetables, picking black raspberries, making jam or preserves, fixing a fence, painting the front porch or a shed roof, snapping beans, husking corn, canning beans, making a cobbler, repairing the tractor, planting flowers, pruning and grafting fruit trees, cleaning out the barn—-you get the picture.  There is always something to do on a farm!

I have so many fond memories of watching as well as helping my parents and grandparents perform these everyday activities.  I especially loved holding the colander on my lap as I sat with Grandma Rieley, helping her to break-up green beans in her sunny kitchen.  I also looked forward to picking black raspberries and assisting her with making preserves.  Grandma would always have a little left over that she didn’t need for her jam jars.  So, she would spread some of the warm, freshly made preserves on a slice of bread for me to taste.  It was like a little bit of heaven.

I think the impression I gained of adulthood when I was a child was that there is dignity and satisfaction in hard work. My parents and grandparents took pride in a day’s work:  a neat lawn with pretty flower beds, a picture perfect vegetable garden overflowing with a bounty of beautiful vegetables to share and preserve for winter, and well-kept fields and barns.

Here’s the thing:  I learned that work isn’t something to be dreaded, but something to be embraced.  I realized that self-worth is developed through accomplishment—doing something, whatever it may be, and doing it well and with enthusiasm.


  1. Oh I just can’t love this post enough! Yes, work is to be embraced. I share this feeling (and I was a city kid!) not just for me, but for kids, too. My kids have always had chores, because it’s terrible to live without accomplishment. I can see it’s wearing off on them, too, because they miss school! They’ve complained about how reading new books is great, but they’re tired of playing the same music and not learning new things. As a person who lived over a decade without going TO a job, I can say I was never bored of life, never sat around all day not doing things, because what on earth would that accomplish? Plenty to do at home. Now that I go to a job, I love having an additional sense of accomplishment again. How do you enjoy play without work?
    Wonderful post, Tonya, just wonderful! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your very kind and thoughtful comment, Joey. I whole-heartedly agree with you. And, it sounds like you’ve instilled this philosophy of work and accomplishment in your children as well. I really believe that in the end, we’re happier when we’re engaged and busy. I know I am. I’m so happy you enjoyed the post! Many thanks. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a wonderful post,Tonya. I have always worked hard at every job I have had. As you rightly say, hard work is to be embraced, and there is a huge sense of satisfaction from knowing that you did your best,
    I have tried to teach my daughter a strong work ethic as well; unfortunately, we live in a society of entitlement, where some people do not want to work for their money, and either raid the bank of mum and dad or languish on benefits!
    For me, it is about having independence and a little self-respect, it doesn’t matter what job a person has, just what they put into it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You made so much out of your time! It looks colorful and fun and a ton of hard work. I think I wasted a lot of my time as a child (still do). I never really was involved in the tasks and errands which in retrospective could have taught me a thing or two. Amazing post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Not only do you have great memories but you developed great life lessons from some amazing people all while you were have fun. Life doesn’t much better than that, Tonya..:)

    Liked by 1 person

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