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« Feeling guilty this Christmas | Main | Let’s all send Mr. Pullman a nice thank-you card »

December 18, 2007

Not just another week at the beach

Artsnowap Thinking of where to take the family on vacation next year? Agonizing over brochures of a Disney cruise or a Costa Rican rainforest adventure? That's so 2001. Welcome to agri-tourism...otherwise known as, some farm kid's brilliant idea to get out of chores.

With pitchforks and heavy coats, three teenage cousins brave below-freezing temperatures and learn how to pitch straw into a sheep pen -- something their teacher, 27-year-old Matt McClain, has been doing since he was a kid.

Bleating sheep may not be the expected soundtrack for a holiday vacation, but some farm families in Nebraska and elsewhere are hoping to change that with an old-fashioned holiday celebration that includes chores, chopping down a Christmas tree, baking cookies and more.

I think this is a terrific idea and I'd like to offer a fresh twist. I don't own a farm, but I can offer families a little together time in suburbia. What could be more fun than, oh, I don't know, raking the leaves in my backyard or cleaning out the closet under my basement stairs? I'm sure I can find plenty of chores, and I'd be happy to accept your suburbi-tourism dollars. Any takers?

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Comments

Paul

Mock it all you want, but it actually sounds fun to me.

This past summer I had the pleasure of having a backyard large enough for a small vegetable garden. The ability to spend a little time with my hands in the dirt pulling weeds thinking about the various parables that Jesus told was worth more than most of the sermons that I have heard in my life.

So I think this is actually a good idea, and hope it lasts long enough that my children will be old enough to do the chores.

Kristine

Oh, I'm not mocking chores -- just the fact that children have to go to someone else's house and do someone else's chores. Didn't they have enough at their own home? (Probably not -- who has time for chores when you're texting and Wii-ing all day.) Of course someone else's chores often look more interesting than our own, so perhaps that's the allure.

Gina Dalfonzo

You wouldn't happen to have an aunt whose fence needs whitewashed, would you, Kristine? :-)

There is a Tom Sawyer-esque aspect to this, but frankly, keeping herd on city kids - and having to re-do the chores after them in order to straighten things out, would be a lot of work.

What is good is that the city kids can see what life is really like. What animals are really like. Experience being close to nature as a human being with dominion over it, in a fallen world. Cities cut themselves off from that.

Matt

this even sounds good for adults. Or maybe only for adults with my mindset of what a vacation should be. Hanging out on a beach for a week is boring for me. I don't crave relaxation in a vacation but simply a change. Something new and different for my mind to focus on for a while. Working on a farm is something I've never really done. Doing so for a week could prove to be a rewarding and educational experience...

Paul

Thank you Matt. That is exactly how I feel.

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