Growing up on a farm in Lincoln County, North Carolina you learn many valuable lessons that our kids in today’s society, including mine, are missing out on. You learn the value of hard work by sowing and reaping, planning and building, gathering and harvesting and being a little more self-sufficient. These lessons are paired with the work and determination it takes to complete these tasks. You go through adversity of hard work by plowing, planting, and trusting for a harvest. However, sometimes your labor pays off, sometimes it doesn’t. But if you don’t put the work in you are guaranteed no success at all.

We would perform all sorts of tasks on the farm. Many days, that was plowing fields and drilling the seed in the ground. Most times we were growing hay for our animals and wheat straw to sell. The difference in the two for me, was hay was a lot heavier. The straw was pretty easy to throw, but if you were loading hay bales and they were a little green, then it was like picking up a chunk of lead.

We also had a saw mill over in the pasture that we cut timbers to build barns and sheds. I remember after Hurricane Hugo we had plenty of trees that were knocked down to harvest and turned into firewood or lumber. We also cut firewood and sold it on the side. I split wood with what we called a “Go Devil”, which is an ax with a hammer on the back side of it. I can remember in the winter, I made a little side money by selling a load of firewood for $40. It took a day’s worth of work to make that money.

I remember my dad and I building this huge barn below our house. It took at least 7 years to build that barn. I was there for the whole building process. The barn was two stories high, with the upper end built into the ground out of concrete blocks. We gathered those blocks off of old buildings my dad’s company tore down for remodeling. My job was to take a hammer and chisel and knock all that old mortar mix off of the blocks so he could lay them again. It took several thousand blocks to build that foundation. We then finished the barn from wood we had cut on the saw mill. I think the only thing we bought was the mortar mix, nails and tin roof for the entire barn.

At the time I did not realize what I was gaining by doing all of this. After looking back over 25 years later, I would not trade it for the world. We now live in a neighborhood and many times I want to move our kids to the farm and allow them to get strong on the farm and learn those same values.

This is where modern day weight rooms comes into play. Many of the same values I learned on the farm can be taught in the weight room. According to Dr. Fagenbaum there are many physiological benefits that can be developed as well. The old myth of training kids and stunting their growth has been debunked. 

Heck if that was the case, I wouldn’t be 6’3” 300 lbs. In the early years the Central Nervous System is developing faster than the endocrine system and therefore many stabilizing exercises are very beneficial. The simple adage of “Stance, Alignment, Start, Assignment” can be used to secure a strong and healthy foundation for many kids.

Consider the discipline of being on a consistent on a training plan and how the kid can see and feel improvement which will motivate them early in life to appreciate the confidence a strong and healthy body can give them. Think of the work ethic that can transfer to the academic side of things as well as the appreciation they would have of hard work, discipline, consistency, dedication, accountability, trust, and developing them from a leadership standpoint.

In conclusion, the future looks as if we are going to have to replace the farm bale with the barbell. The experiences are not as wide range in the weight room, but the same principles apply. You reap what you sow, so get your kids in a weight room and plant seeds of strength on the inside and out.
Thanks for reading! Stick around for the next edition of Coaches Corner every other Wednesday.
About  The Author 
David Abernethy is currently the director of strength training & conditioning at Furman Unversity. He is a certified member of the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association, the National Strength and Conditioning Association, the National Association of Speed and Explosion, and is recognized by the American Fitness Professionals Association as a Certified Sports Nutrition Consultant.  Abernethy is married to the former Kelli Iddings of Denver, N.C., and the couple has a daughter, Madilyn, and a son, Brooks David.
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