The Benefits of Work Over Sports

Work Teaches Too!

Our family operates a small farm, store and delivery system that delivers our farm foods across North Dakota. We often find that students are interested in working with us but are not able to because they are involved in sports after school and in the summer.  As a result, they miss out on some great learning experiences.

I observed the same thing when teaching manufacturing engineering at NDSU. For example, there was the biggest machine tool show on earth in Chicago that had a student track for students to learn from world leaders in every aspect of manufacturing over the week-long event.  The space this massive show used was about one square mile plus multiple levels with manufacturing facilities and technologies fully operational.

There wasn't a better place on earth for manufacturing engineering students to be!  But an NDSU English professor would not let the students attend because she had a test planned for that week.

So, back to solving the farm worker recruiting problem, I asked ChatGPT to draft an article that we will edit later into a recruiting handout.  The many good points point to the value of practical learning being done outside of school and sports programs.  Just like learning how to eat a healthy diet, survival skills, and entrepreneurship are great to know and best taught in real life, not in an academic environment.

Why Working on a Farm Can Be More Beneficial Than Playing Sports for 13-Year-Old Girls During the Summer (ChatGPT)

1. Connection to Nature Working on a farm provides a direct connection to nature. In an age where screen time often dominates free time, spending summer days outside helps girls appreciate the environment, understand the importance of sustainability, and develop a sense of stewardship for the planet. They can see firsthand how food is grown and the hard work that goes into it, fostering a greater appreciation for the natural world.

2. Learning Practical Skills Farm work teaches practical skills that are useful throughout life. Girls can learn about planting, harvesting, animal care, and basic agricultural principles. These experiences can instill a strong work ethic, teach problem-solving skills, and promote self-sufficiency. Handling tools, working with animals, and managing time effectively are skills that go beyond the farm and can be beneficial in many aspects of life.

3. Physical Activity and Health Benefits While sports are known for their physical benefits, farm work also provides substantial physical exercise. Tasks such as lifting, digging, and moving around the farm can improve strength, stamina, and overall fitness. Unlike sports, which often focus on specific muscle groups, farm work involves a variety of physical activities that promote all-around fitness.

4. Responsibility and Discipline Caring for plants and animals requires a high level of responsibility and discipline. Girls learn to adhere to schedules, attend to daily chores, and ensure the well-being of the farm’s inhabitants. This responsibility can foster a sense of accountability and maturity. The routine of farm work can also help establish strong time management skills, which are crucial for academic success and personal growth.

5. Mental Health and Well-being Spending time in nature and engaging in physical work can have significant benefits for mental health. The repetitive tasks of farming, combined with the peacefulness of the rural environment, can reduce stress and anxiety. It provides a break from the fast-paced, high-pressure world of school and social media, offering a chance to decompress and enjoy simpler, more rewarding activities.

6. Building Community and Teamwork Farm work often involves collaboration with others, whether it's family, friends, or other farm workers. This can help build a sense of community and teach the importance of teamwork. Girls learn to communicate effectively, work together to solve problems, and support each other in achieving common goals.

7. Understanding Food Sources and Nutrition By working on a farm, girls gain a deeper understanding of where their food comes from. This knowledge can lead to healthier eating habits and a greater appreciation for the effort involved in food production. They may become more inclined to make nutritious food choices and understand the value of fresh, locally-sourced produce.

8. Cultivating Patience and Perseverance Farming is not an instant-gratification activity. It requires patience and perseverance as plants grow and animals develop. Girls learn the value of delayed gratification and the rewards that come from consistent effort over time. This lesson is invaluable and can be applied to many areas of life, including academics and personal goals.

9. Sense of Accomplishment and Empowerment There is a profound sense of accomplishment that comes from seeing the tangible results of one’s labor. Whether it’s a successful harvest or healthy livestock, these achievements can boost self-esteem and confidence. Working on a farm empowers girls by showing them that they are capable of making a significant impact through their hard work.

10. Exposure to Career Opportunities Farming can introduce girls to a wide range of career opportunities in agriculture, environmental science, veterinary medicine, and more. Early exposure to these fields can inspire future academic and career interests, broadening their horizons beyond the traditional paths often highlighted in schools and communities.

In conclusion, while sports provide important benefits, working on a farm offers unique and comprehensive advantages that can significantly enrich the lives of 13-year-old girls. It promotes physical health, mental well-being, responsibility, and a connection to the environment, equipping them with valuable skills and experiences that last a lifetime.

The Benefits of Work Over Sports
James Bartlett May 22, 2024
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