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Life on the family farm under an open heaven: Great opportunities arise

Tom Heck for Progressive Dairy Published on 22 May 2020

Sometimes in life certain things just naturally happen that turn into great opportunities to teach children great lessons they will remember the rest of their lives. Such is what happened here unexpectedly years ago.

We needed some work done on top of one of our silos; since it was 60 feet up in the air and there was not much to hang on to, I called in an experienced silo man to do it. Dino came and climbed right up there with his tools and went to work. After a couple of hours, he had it fixed, and I paid him. I thought it was all done and taken care of, but I was in for a surprise.

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About two months later, our son, Joshua, was out by that silo and saw something shiny sticking about an inch out of the ground by a big burdock weed. He tried to pull it out, but couldn’t. So he showed it to me, and I was able to pull it out. It was a vise-grip. We cleaned it up and found it was still in excellent condition. Joshua wondered how it got there in the ground. I realized Dino had accidently dropped it nose-first when he was working on top of the silo. That’s why it went into the ground as far as it did. By the time he got the job done, he had forgotten about it.

vise-grip

Now Joshua, from a way small boy on, has really liked tools. So he was really excited to find this tool. Once I had put all the pieces together about how it got there, I explained the situation to him. He could see that it all made perfect sense.

Then I asked him what he was going to do with it, since he was the one who found it. He thought real hard on it and then said, “I suppose we should give it back to Dino.” I replied, “Yes, that’s what you should do. That’s the right thing to do.” Joshua’s eyes got kind of big, and he said to me, “Can’t you give it back to him, Dad?” I said, “No, you found it, you should give it back to him and tell him how you found it.”

I could tell he was a little afraid to do it, so I said to him, “Dino is coming back in a few weeks to do some work on another silo for us, then you can give it to him; I’ll be there right by your side.” He was relieved when I told him that.

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Needless to say, I was very proud of him, that he had chosen to do the right thing. There’s a saying, “Finders keepers, losers weepers.” Many people live by that saying, but it’s totally wrong. It’s always right to give back to a person something they lost if at all possible.

Since Joshua was a small boy and doing the right thing, I wanted him to be rewarded in a small way. I knew by so doing it could really help to build good character. Unfortunately, the development of good character is a skill so lacking in this world today.

So without Joshua knowing it, I called Dino up and told him the whole story. I told Dino that I wanted him to reward Joshua in a small way for his honesty. I told him it could be like a dollar bill or something else, but that I would reimburse him afterwards for it. He told me he would give Joshua something, but that it was on him. He wouldn’t take anything from me. So all I could tell him was “Thank you.”

It was a bright sunny day when Dino drove up by our silos. Joshua got the vice-grip, and together we greeted Dino. Joshua handed the tool to him and told him the whole story. Dino took it and thanked Joshua for it. He looked it over and said that it definitely was his. He then thanked Joshua for it and told him that he wanted him to have it for being honest with him. With that, he handed it back to Joshua. Joshua was thrilled; he got a great big smile on his face and thanked Dino for it. Dino then went on to tell us that he has many farmers who look for opportunities to steal tools from him. They will steal while he’s working on their farms or, when he accidentally leaves something behind, they don’t give it back to him. How sad, how dishonest, how sinful.

Joshua still has that tool in his toolbox today. He always remembers how Dino gave it to him for being honest. I’m so thankful that Dino did that. It helped to reinforce the Biblical values we had been teaching him. When it happened, I could see it was a great opportunity to do so; that’s why I called Dino up.

The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” God expects parents to teach their children His ways. Parents do that by living rightly themselves and thereby setting a good example for their children. Also, great opportunities arise that can be used to teach children God’s ways. And they will remember them the rest of their lives. Joshua does these many years later, every time he sees that vise-grip in his toolbox.  end mark

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Getty Images.

Tom Heck, his wife, Joanne, and their two children own and operate a 35-cow dairy farm in Wisconsin. Email Tom Heck or order his book at Tom Heck Farm.

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