Times and Tribulations of a Free Range Child. Phase 6.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
A free ranger farm kid begin to learn the farmer's way very early in life. A four year old could steer farm tractors while the parent loaded bales of hay on the hay-rack without stopping. The tractors of that far past time did not have enclosed cabs, nor lights or such modern things as power steering.

Submitted: December 03, 2015

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Submitted: December 03, 2015

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Long ago kids lived as free range children. Free to roam wherever their short legs would take them.

Most farm kids were considered 'Free Range' children. They were booted out the front door, at the crack of dawn, into the wild farm yard and told not to return unless they were hungry. Free rangers were always hungry, and would soon find their way to the back door begging to be let in for some food.

“You have been gone for six minutes,” the parent may say, “You can not be hungry yet. But just in case you are, here's a tomato.” Free ranger's hate tomatoes.

A free ranger farm kid begin to learn the farmer's way very early in life. A four year old could steer farm tractors while the parent loaded bales of hay on the hay-rack without stopping. The tractors of that far past time did not have enclosed cabs, nor lights or such modern things as power steering. They barely had fenders over the tires. A free range kid would break into a sweat on a sub-zero day just from steering. Tractors had to be cranked to be started. The parent did that. A free range kid would ride along sometimes while the parent did other things such as cultivate or harvest the crops. A free range kid was very adapt at riding on moving farm equipment. Time and fuel was too valuable for the parent to stop the machinery each time a free range kid wanted to get on or off said machinery.

One of the main chores a free range kid did was to take the farm dog and go out into the pasture and bring back to the barn the milk cows each and every day. It was never clear who was protecting whom. Sometimes the dog would chase away a cow intent on chasing the farm kid and other times the reverse was true. The kid saving the dog. All in all it was a partnership that worked. Both survived.

When not doing chores, a free ranger used his/her imagination to run households or fight off marauding forces. Store bought toy's were in sharp demand only at Christmas time. When bought toy's broke or were lost, free rangers made their own. Store bought toys were never replaced. A block of wood or a stick maybe even an old rag could be turned into a toy. A bale of hay became a horse or some other wild critter when needed. With some imagination of course.

Playing in the house was reserved for the most terrible of days, weather wise. A free ranger did not survive without some discipline if they played in the house on days that were available to play outdoors. A free ranger grew adept at watching for bad weather.

The modern equivalent is the “Latch Key” child. A child old enough to have a key to get into the house. The free ranger had no key. The house was never locked. A parent was always home.

Today's parents are afraid to let any child, no matter the age, out of sight. If a child ventures outdoors it is with a parent as an escort. Disciplining a child, and true free range children, has gone the way of the Buffalo hunter. On the plus side, today's child has grown quit adept at watching for criminals of all types.

True imagination is in short supply for the modern child. Why use your brain when all you need to do is turn on some electrical device. No need to play with a cardboard box or stick when you can use a Xbox or other such thing. That little black box can do all your thinking for you. All that is left is to walk 9 feet across deep shag carpeting to use the bathroom. Not go 50 yards outside to a barn or outhouse. Winter or summer. All year long.

Being raised as a free range child had many advantages. The main one being common sense and able to think for yourself. With a good dose of self support mentality throw in.

There are not so many true farm raised free range children today. This may be due to less family farms or bigger farm equipment. Whatever the reason, they are sorely missed.


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