Allowing kids to make and learn from mistakes is a challenge, one farmer said
By Diego Flammini
As Father’s Day is this Sunday, Farms.com spoke with dads from Western Canada’s ag community about fatherhood, its hardest parts and how being a father has changed them.
Todd Lewis (TL), the president of Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, raises grains, oilseeds and pulses near Gray, Sask. Along with his wife Terry, they have a 23-year-old daughter, Kim.
Bill Prybylski (BP) raises grains, oilseeds pulses and cattle near Yorkton, Sask. He has four children: Mary (28), Neil (26), Amy (25) and Tracy (23). Bills wife, Janet, passed away in 2004.
Bill Campbell (BC) is the president of Keystone Agricultural Producers in Manitoba. He grows crops and raises cattle near Minto, Man. Together with his wife Lauren, the family has two daughters. Courtney is 38 and Kaitlin is 35.
Farms.com: Describe where you were when you found out you were going to be a dad for the first time. How did it make you feel?
TL: My wife and I were very excited when we found out we were going to be parents and it’s been nothing but good news since Kim was born.
BP: It was in the middle of a blizzard when Janet told me, so it was some good news in the middle of a bad situation. We were both very excited.
BC: I don’t remember where we were, but I know I was very excited but also very concerned about the new path we were going down, the expectations and the newness involved with parenthood.
Farms.com: Describe the feeling of holding your newborn for the first time.
TL: There are so many mixed emotions. You’re overjoyed at the arrival of the child and you’re relieved that everything went okay, the baby has 10 fingers and 10 toes and mom is okay too.
BP: It’s totally awesome to hold your child and think about all of the memories and things you’re going to get to do together.
Neil, Bill, Tracy, Amy and Mary Prybylski.
BC: I was in awe. Watching the previous nine months and then having this baby in my arms was just incredible.
Farms.com: What’s the best part about being a farm dad?
TL: Working with family. There’s lots of strength and support on a family farm.
BP: Being able to work with my kids. I’m in one sprayer right now and my son is in the other.
BC: The best part is having the flexibility to be at their events.
Farms.com: What’s the hardest part about fatherhood?
TL: Time management. You only get one shot at raising a child and you’ve got to try to make sure you can put in the time to attend school and other activities your child might be into.
BP: Letting kids make mistakes and learn from them.
BC: Making the time to be at the events for the kids. There was always chores and tasks and work to do on the farm.
Farms.com: What’s a misconception people have about fatherhood?
TL: That every situation is the same. Every one is different and you’ll learn something new every day.
BP: That things will always work out the way you planned.
BC: That the things you do don’t influence them. You think your kids don’t remember what you say or do, but they remember.
Farms.com: What’s your dad’s name? What are some special memories you have with him?
TL: My dad’s name is Don and he’s still involved with the farm so I’m lucky I get to make memories with him all the time.
BP: My dad’s name was Frank. I remember spending time with him on the farm and just learning everything I could from him.
BC: My dad’s name was Glen. He taught me how to walk in a field, analyze it and know something isn’t working or something needs to change.
Farms.com: What’s one lesson you learned from your dad you try to teach your kids?
TL: Patience and being proud of doing your best.
BP: Treat the land well and the land will pay you back.
BC: Hard work and honesty because nothing will be handed to you.
Farms.com: How has fatherhood changed you?
TL: I think over the years I’ve tried to be more understanding because once you have a child you’ve got more than just yourself to look after.
BP: I have a newfound respect for my parents and what they had to go through. I’m the youngest of seven kids and I understand the sacrifices my parents made for us.
BC: You have to acknowledge your responsibilities. Once you become a parent, you’re accountable to more than just yourself.
Farms.com: What’s one thing all dads have in common no matter where they are in the world?
TL: Love and concern for their children.
BP: If you have kids you’re going to have challenges.
BC: Whatever choices you make in life will affect your kids.
Farms.com: What’s one piece of advice you have for new dads?
TL: Understand there’s no one book on parenting. You have to be able to adjust and do your best.
BP: Enjoy every moment because your kids will be adults before you know it and you’ll wish you took more time for them.
BC: It’s an old adage but take time to appreciate your kids. They’ll be five before you blink and in university when your eyes open again.