No better place to raise kids: S.D. farm, ranch mom shares parenting philosophy
“There was always lots of work, but we always found time to play too.” Margaret Sumption, Frederick, S.D., farmer, mother of five, grandma of 21 and great-grandma to one.
When her five sons were young, mealtime was sacred.
“Everyone sat at the table until everyone was done. They had to ask to leave the table. I never let them eat with their caps on,” explains Margaret (Jensen) Sumption, 68, who has farmed with her husband, John, for 46 years. “Mealtime was our only time together. As the boys were starting high school and had practices and games, we would try to eat our breakfast together.”
Today, Sumption prepares a meal nearly every weekday to ensure her five grown sons continue the tradition. The brothers say this daily meal has been key to ensuring nothing falls through the cracks on the Sumption family farm. In fact, the fifth-generation made sure a kitchen was included in the design of a new shop built in 2004.
After lunch these days, Chris, Eric, Mark, Taylor and Warren all head back outside to manage the family’s Frederick crop and livestock operation. But, when they were young, the routine was a bit more fun.
“John and the boys played football every day after the noon meal – until someone got hurt or cried. When that happened, John would say, ‘OK, time to go to work,’” Sumption says. “We all liked being outside.”
Like her sons, growing up, Sumption and her sister spent their days helping their dad on her family’s Day County farm. “We milked. We worked in the fields. We hauled grain – we did a lot of things generally boys would do.”
She says she always enjoyed farm work, but it wasn’t until she taught school and was forced to spend her days indoors that she realized just how much. “I couldn’t wait till Friday when I could drive out of town.”
Even though she and John retired in 2000, they both stay involved on the farm. Sumption says she is blessed to have her sons working on the farm with their families close by. “I always thought we would be driving off to visit this one or that one – wherever they are. Now, we kind of laugh and try to sneak away for time alone. It’s kind of crazy, but I enjoy it,” she says. “I love getting to watch the grandkids grow up. And, I have the best daughters-in-law. I treasure them. My sons made good choices.”
–South Dakota Farmers Union