Like everyone, my life today is and has been greatly influenced by my childhood experiences. Early in my childhood, I was given a lot of responsibility and held accountable by my family. I now struggle to find pleasure in activities that are not constructive and productive.
In 1960, I was born the second child and first son of a farming family. My mother was a stay-at-home mom, and my father worked long hours and still struggled to make the financial ends meet. He could hardly afford to pay for the necessities let alone pay for extra farm labor. It soon became my responsibility to check and feed the livestock when I returned home from school, and I always had jobs around the farm in the summer. When I was eight, I received my first tractor driving tasks. I raked a lot of the hay that my father put up that summer and I baled all of it. My younger brother would ride the tractor with me to help watch the machinery. If there were any problems, we would shut the machinery down and wait for my father to come. I felt very important having such responsibility and my fatherís confidence. When I turned ten, my father bought another tractor and plow, and then every March and April I would go to the field to help my father plow when I returned home from school. I would plow most evenings until dark, all day on Saturdays, and many Sunday afternoons. When the plowing was finished, it was time to plant, and after planting it was again time for hay. The following fall I had the same work schedule as I had in the spring, but we were harvesting instead of plowing. My labors on the farm continued with added responsibilities each year until I graduated high school. I learned at a very early age that free time was for working and when the work was complete I could play; however, the work was seldom complete.
Because of the work habits that were instilled into me at a young age, I have always found it difficult to relax while participating in nonproductive activities. My hobbies and all of my interests are in activities that produce. I donít regret my background; I enjoyed it very much, but I do find relaxation in activities that most see as laborious.