Fathers And Sons

Day 3 of 5 • This day’s reading



That’s basically what all it’s about. The biggest disservice you can do any young man is to say that you don’t trust him. That will take the wind out of his sails quicker than anything else. Instead, start giving him responsibilities in the business from an early age. Let him start helping with the accounts or paying the wages. Help him to understand what it costs to repair a pickup or motorbike that he’s broken. He won’t do it again. 

Show him what it costs to lose a cow because no one was there to help at the birth. Show him what happens when gates are badly maintained or the cattle get into the maize crop before it’s ready for reaping. Let him pick up the responsibility and start having a few sleepless nights. When a fire breaks out, and it’s raging through your plantation, take him with you so he can see what’s involved. Don’t try to shelter him. He’ll thank you for it later. Fight it together.

At the time when we had just started out farming, we had a fire on our farm. My eldest son, Andy, was only eight or nine years old at the time. I had one little tractor and an inadequate fire-fighting tank on the back that I was trying to use to put out the fire. The wind changed and suddenly I was engulfed by the flames. I managed to reverse the tractor by using the water hose to douse the tractor so that the tires wouldn’t catch fire. By the grace of God, I managed to get out of that tough spot. I looked up and there was Andy, sitting on the bumper of the tractor with me.

Afterwards, when everything was over, we were sitting on a rock, overlooking a huge vlei (marsh). The fire was out; it had run its course and all the workers were sitting down, exhausted. I said to him, “Andy, why didn’t you run when you saw the wind change and the fire start to engulf the tractor?” 

He replied, “No, Dad, I wanted to stay with you. If we were going to burn, we’d burn together.” I have never forgotten that. He’s an outstanding farmer today. Responsibility doesn’t put him into a panic mode and drastic situations don’t send him into a tailspin. He can handle these things, taking them in his stride.