Sunday, July 18, 2010

Time - Focus On Children

The past three weeks has caused me to contemplate the matter of time and how I budget time. Like finances, time can be budgeted and I highly recommend that folks do, for many of the same reasons. Like money, time can be wasted. However, unlike money, more time cannot be earned. We are here on this planet for a finite period and it is important we invest our time wisely.

Begin your Time Budget by establishing what is most important to you, budget your time accordingly and then write it down and stick to your budget. Similar to money, time has an ROI (Return On Investment) value. It is important that the time you spend is quality time, especially when it comes to time invested with our children.

Spending time with a child is valuable, but make it quality time. Give your undivided attention to your son/daughter, eliminate the distractions and let them set the pace. Think about it. Do you simply reply in short responses (“I see,” “that’s nice,” “interesting,” etc.) or do you engage in dialogue? When going for a walk or ride, do you go ahead or let them set the speed and travel with them, seeing what they see, when they see it and in the manner which they see it?

Having the opportunity to be a single parent for a month has caused me to realize the importance in spending quality time with a child. It requires me to slow down my pace, have patience and listen. Does it require time? Certainly! But my son is a high priority and I have modified my Time Budget to be able to spend more quality time with him. Approaching time in a different frame of mind has opened the door to a vast world of opportunity to teach; making those drives in the pickup, rides in the swather, changing water on the ATV and evening walks down the lane all the more special and valuable.

How do you budget your time?

My budget says it is time to take my son fishing, at the neighbor’s reservoir, before we get into the routine of 2nd cutting.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Single Dad For A Month

Single Dad For A Month

It’s been a while since I made the time to make a post. Hay season is upon us, changing water two and three times a day, the usual chores with cattle and horses and my wife is taking a class in Colorado for a month; which means I have our son to myself for some quality time.

Certainly, having both sets of grandparents nearby is a tremendous help for those nights when we are baling from 9 pm until 4:30 am, taking a two hour nap and continuing at 6:30 until noon. They are also very helpful on those nights that I have meetings to attend, County Farm Bureau, Department of Water Resources, Department of Fish and Game, etc.

Forget keeping regular sleeping hours without mom around. He is a trooper! Cutting in the swather, raking in the tractor and day baling in the tug are some of his favorite things to do, as long as he has his books to read when he gets bored. A fanatic about changing water as well; quite the hand helping move swing line, dragging hose and carrying clamps for his ol’ man, he gets upset on the mornings he sleeps in and I’ve changed the water before he rises. I’ve come to realize how important it is to start education children at an early age; their minds are sponges.

Already, at the age of three, he is setting timers on the pumps, starting the pumps, connecting and disconnecting handline, controlling the throttle for the balers in the tugs and starting the ATV to move it to the next riser. We are even sharing the chores: he waters the lawn and feeds the dogs, I water the dogs and mow the lawn; he hays the horses in the barn while I hay the bulls on the hill; I cook the meals while he sets the table and I wash the dishes while he dries. For entertainment, he gets to choose 1 hr of television per week, has an hour each day to play with his toys & ride his bike and we have 30 minutes of story time each night.

Reflecting on the past two weeks I cannot help but wonder if our country would still have a childhood obesity problem if more parents would simply take responsibility for teaching their children proper work ethic, eating and sleeping habits and shut off the computers and televisions. Stop blaming everything else for problems and look within yourself.

Despite our both missing mom, we are both looking forward to another two weeks of father son time. Taking advantage of the time and opportunities that we have to spend with our children should not be ignored nor passed by.

About Me

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Jeff Fowle is a fourth generation family farmer and rancher from Etna, California. He and his wife Erin and son Kyle raise registered Angus cattle, Percheron draft horses, warmbloods, alfalfa and alfalfa-grass hay. They also start and train horses for riding, jumping, and driving. Their family run ranch has incorporated many environmentally beneficial and water efficient technologies and management strategies. Jeff attended college at Colorado State University for two years and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for four and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science. Following college, he worked in Washington State for a year as a herdsman for BB Cattle Company and then returned to Etna, California in 1995 to own and operate KK Bar Ranch and Siskiyou Percherons. The latter was started by his grandfather, Clarence Dudley, who devoted much of his time to the Percheron Horse Association of America, specifically to developing their youth education program.