2022 Ag Pride Editorial: Bigs and Little | TSLN.com

2022 Ag Pride Editorial: Bigs and Little

My kids are lucky. My big kids have littles, and my littles have bigs. With a 16-year span between my oldest and youngest, I sometimes feel like I’m living in alternate universes. I’m potty training and going to college orientation, planning graduations from high school and kindergarten, packing strollers to track meets.

I worried some, about how they would adapt. If the older ones would resent the littles, or if the littles would feel overshadowed.

But I needn’t have worried. It’s nothing but love.

When the big kids are around, the littles just want their siblings, and their siblings are okay with that. They go to the park, tie shoes, wrestle, remind of the rules, remove the littles from the top of the fridge, read stories, watch animated movies (the big kids don’t need much encouraging), dry tears and kiss owies.

From the minute their baby sister was placed in their arms, my big kids have taken seriously their jobs as siblings, mentors and confidants.

I’m so thankful. From their siblings to cousins and big kids at school, there are so many young people my littles can look up to. At playdays and the fair, there’s always a big kid with an encouraging word, an offer of help, or simply a smile and a wave. I can see my littles light up when they get that kind of attention.

At one playday, my 5-year-old made friends with one of the senior girls sitting beside the arena. When it was my daughter’s turn, this girl placed herself at the fence behind the second barrel, shouting encouragement and directions as Maddie tried to remember which side of the barrel she was supposed to round first. When people shake their heads about “kids today,” I assume they don’t mean these kids.

This issue is full of stories about these kids. The kids who are focused and goal-oriented. The kids who know that hard word and respect for others will get you a lot farther in life than entitlement and a bad attitude. The kids who act like heroes, whether there’s a little kid watching or not.

But it doesn’t take much to make yourself into a hero in the eyes of kid. Kids in agriculture seem especially gifted with an awareness of younger kids, and a willingness to slow their steps, explain a little more simply, and encourage a little.

Maybe their parents taught them respect for all, regardless of how short their legs are.  Maybe it’s because someone led and encouraged them, or they recognize a little of themselves in the little ones.

Whatever it is, I’m grateful.