If you are raised in an apartment, there are certain things you learn that other kids might not. For example, you learn that you can’t go screaming out into the hall when your brother is chasing you with his booger on his finger or old Mrs. Polanski will yell at you for being too loud.
If you are raised in an old, creaky house, you learn that there are often scary sounds that make you think there are ghosts in your room and you better sleep with your blanket over your head so they can’t see you.
And if you are raised in a mansion, well, you might not learn a whole lot of anything at all except that it’s easy to get lost in all of that space.
When my kids were young, we lived on a part of our family’s property. The property was formerly a farm with horses, a huge vegetable garden, and, of course, the requisite barn. Years after it was no longer a farm, the barn was still there and was converted into a two-bedroom guesthouse. It was the perfect fit for a young family!
My grandmother’s old phrase, “Were you raised in a barn?” has a very special meaning for us. If my kids leave the door open when heading off to school or running outside to play, and I yell, “Close that door! Were you raised in a barn?” they’ll yell back, “Yes!”
When you are raised in a barn, there are important things you learn about life, and leadership too. And even though we didn’t live with farm animals, it was often a circus in our little house.
Among the many things we learned during “the barn years”, there are three powerful lessons that stand out–
Take a look at what kind of responses you’re giving to your kids in the course of a day. Are you talking with calm respect, and disallowing the sassy stuff, or are you giving it right back?
Parenting doesn’t come with an Almanac capable of predicting the future weather around your “barn” or the yield of your “crop”. And lots of the lessons and leadership that kids experience are completely out of our control. Preparation and planning can help, along with understanding what to expect from different kids. Take these “barn” lessons and explore some of the things your kids are learning in your family. And remember that strong, WISE kids grow best in fertile fields of love with lots of mutual respect and a bright amount of laughter!
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