Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe

Life as a Disabled Farm Boy

with one comment

by Treadmarkz

If anyone reading this is in a wheelchair and grew up on a farm, I’d like to read your thoughts on the subject. Please comment.
Recently my wife and I visited my parents and somehow my parents got talking about how when they were first starting out as man and wife, my dad was thinking of becoming a farmer. He and my mom both grew up on farms. My dad did not however, become a farmer himself, so I grew up a smalltown boy, and I am thankful.

Because I am in a wheelchair, I couldn’t help but try to imagine what my life would have been like, had I grown up on a farm. All of the farm kids I ever met were out in the field or the barn with their parents doing chores from the time they were in diapers practically. For me, I am sure my dad could have found some job for me in the barn, but the field, I don’t know.

I know that I could have contributed a lot to the work that needed to be done in the house, just as I did as a town kid. But I feel like it would have felt wrong, as a boy, staying in the house while my brother went out to the field with my dad to do what is often considered to be the “men’s work” on the farm. I never felt that kind of disconnection as a townie.

As a townie, my siblings and I always had options on how we wanted to spend our time, after our small house chores were done, and our parents encouraged us to go into a career of our choice. But the farm kids we knew seemed to have been expected to do a larger share of the manual labor, and many took up a plot of land themselves when they left school. I don’t think it is forced upon them by any means, but it is a way of life that becomes so ingrained, I would imagine for some it is just the logical path.

My main question is “would I have felt as useful, would I have grown up feeling like a contributing member of my family and society had I grown up on a farm?”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am sure that farmers are every bit as nurturing of their children’s dreams and talents. And I am sure, had my parents gone into farming, it wouldn’t have changed them as parents. But I am sure the atmosphere would have affected my personality drastically. That is why I am thankful I grew up a small town boy.

Written by treadmarkz

March 28, 2008 at 2:56 AM

One Response

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  1. I agree. Perhaps, it is also because there are greater opportunities for being mentally engaged in urban and semi-urban settings. I guess in rural areas physical work takes precedence. Could it also be that we just get used to a particular way of living and it is, therefore, difficult to imagine ourselves in another?

    I have a visual handicap – I can see only with my right eye. And I’m rather myopic as well. But, having been born and brought up by educated parents in a metropolis, I hardly feel any different from those with normal vision. I have no doubt that my intellectual progress would have been retarded in a rural setting and I would have probably grown up with a complex as well.


    March 31, 2008 at 1:15 PM

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