I love these kids. In fact I love them so much that there is not anything I wouldn’t do for them. Layla was sitting on my lap the other day and I said “who loves you the most in this world?” Her first answer was “Jesus”. I pressed her and said “then who comes second”. With just a little pause for an attempt to spare my feelings she said “mommy”. I asked her, “why not daddy?” she said “simple, she spends the most time with us”.
Don’t worry about me, I am plenty alright with all those answers. She is making pretty good sense to me and I know that Layla loves me very much. It is true that if you ever want to know the truth, just as a kid. She was unwittingly reminding me of my most valuable resource and how I choose to spend it. Just like everything valuable, time is a limited and fleeting commodity. The tension in being an engaged dad is the pull between obligation and where my heart is on a daily basis. I’m not cut out to be a good employee, and the justification that I go to work for their benefit gets crappier by the day. They both look at me with skepticism as I muddle through something along the lines of “well you see kids, I work to earn money to pay for these things and for us to eat and have clothes” yada yada yada. None of which they thoroughly believe and quite frankly neither do I. The truth is that my off farm job provides for our mission to continue when times are tough which for farmers they always are. The scale of our farm sometimes makes paying the bills worrisome but my family’s lifestyle wouldn’t change much without the business of the barry farm. As a family we can never go back and have burned the bridge behind us but our mission is greater than our family. We work and farm as hard as we do because we are set to a task and that task is not making the best food we can. Our task is to build community and foster good in this world. To stand in the gap and not let the cracks be filled with people who don’t fit in other areas. Our farm does make some pretty awesome food and we work non stop to make it the best we can be, but I would give it all away tomorrow if it would get our community closer to our mission. This is why the world needs family farms. We are not unique in this and others if they could would echo my thoughts. So why tell you all this? Just like layla reminded me, I’d like to remind you. What is your family’s mission? I mean the real stuff that puts you all on the same page and clears your mind while at the same time stirs your heart. Now answer this, just how much time is your family spending working together on that mission.