I was never like other kids when I was younger.
I wasn't a child who went to daycare, vacationed in Florida, or attended block parties in a neighborhood. Nor did I play video games, swim at the public pool, or ride my bike to a friend's house when I was bored.
When I was in the third grade, I sat next to a boy who would tell me every day how much fun he had playing kickball with the 'neighborhood boys' the night before. He'd brag about how he'd eat pizza rolls and drink chocolate milk every day after school with his friends. Then he'd ask why I never did anything like that after school with my friends.
Growing up, my summers were spent walking the pasture fence, fishing in our backyard pond, and climbing the hay bales in the barns. There were no block parties, no kickball games, and no WiFi.
But the funny thing is, those neighborhood kids think they had it better than I did. The joke is on them.
The truth is, being raised a farm kid was the greatest gift I could have ever received. There's no bigger blessing than being a farmer's daughter.
My life didn't revolve around other kids in the neighborhood; it revolved around my cowgirl boots, my BB gun and my three boyfriends, aka my brothers.
Here are 10 lessons I learned from being a farm kid:
1. I learned the true meaning of hard work and what it's like to never give up—even when I didn't want to fill up the cow's water tank for the third time in one hot day at the age of 10.
2. I learned how to care for and tend to another living being. As a 13-year 4-H member, my favorite years were when I showed cattle, dragging around an Angus Hereford cow 10 times my size by a halter.
3. I learned the importance of closing the gate to the cow pasture.
4. I learned that close to nothing in life will go according to your original plan. I still cry for Dad each time the combine breaks down... for the second time in a day.
5. I learned how to shoot cans, lock up the shed and drive farm machinery way before the age of 15.
6. I learned how to cope with death each time an animal got infected or hurt, along with learning the joy of new life every time I helped nurse a calf that I had watched my dad pull out of a mother's stomach with his own two hands.
7. I learned how to pray for someone other than myself. I prayed for rain during a drought, a good harvest in the fall, and sunshine when hay was still laying on the ground. I learned how important faith was in farming.
8. I learned the value of a dollar. I didn’t grow up with money and my parents went through some very tough situations that kept us humble. Money didn’t drive us to achieve goals. Family did.