SOME SUGGESTIONS TO FARMERS WHO EMPLOY TOWN BOYS
It is quite probably the town boy who comes to offer his services to you could have secured a much easier job in town. He seeks work on the farm because he feels it is his duty to help the nation's farmers produce food. It may be his first experience away from home.
While he may not show it outwardly, he probably will be extremely anxious to "make good." Realizing his lack of experience, he may inwardly be tense and nervous.
In most cases patience and encouragement will be the tonic he needs to build up his confidence. Once he knows the farmer is a kindly, sympathetic friend, yet one who demands and must have accomplishment, his ability to serve should increase rapidly.
Friendly conversation between farmer and boy as they work along together, if circumstances permit, can work wonders with an adolescent boy's attitude and morale.
If when the boy goes home week ends he tells his parents and friends, "Mr. Blank is sure a swell fellow" it's a safe bet the farmer knows how to handle and teach boys. It is also a pretty good indication the farmer is getting accomplishment from the boy.
These boys will make mistakes just as you and I have done all our lives. Some of these mistakes will be costly but probably nobody will regret the more than the boy himself.
The farmer may feel he cannot spend the time to explain in detail a machine and its operation which a town boy is called upon to operate. Yet, on the other hand it is doubtful if the farmer can afford the time and lack accomplishment it may cost later on if he does not do so.
We should keep in mind that piece of machinery or equipment that is simple to the farmer or farm boy who has operated repeatedly, may be quite complex to the lad who is trying his hand for the first time.
The simple job of digging a post hole or turning a cream separator at the proper speed may be difficult for the boy who is trying his hand for the first time, yet it is a safe bet that in a large majority of cases the boy is trying his best.
It may be necessary for the farmer or concern himself with the boy's physical welfare. Often town boys do not realize how quickly the arms, back, and neck can become a mass of blisters from sunburn, possibly incapacitating them for several days.
If a boy works hard, he must eat heartily. Usually it is eating too rapidly rather than eating too much that upsets a boy's stomach.
With clothing moist from perspiration at the close of a day's work, it is easy for a boy to catch cold in the cool of the evening. A light sweater or jacket might help prevent colds under such conditions.
One can easily become extremely thirsty at farm work on a hot day, tempting the drinking of too much water at one time, especially cold water.
A bit of counsel and advice from the farmer in such matters may help a great deal in keeping the boy physically fit. It goes without saying the boy's parents will deeply appreciate the farmer's concern for the physical welfare of their boy.
It is always extremely important to point out every safety precaution boys should take in doing the various types of farm work.
When harvesting or haying has been retarded by rainy weather, the farmer may be compelled to work his help long hours. While this would be readily understood by an experienced farm boy, a few words of explanation of the long work days to the town boy will help him to understand. He will be less likely to feel he is being exploited.
Homesickness among town boys helping on the farm is not to be unexpected. If the farmer and boy have an early understanding as to when and how often the boy can go home, it may make for the boy's contentment. Sometimes a phone call home, even if it involves a reasonable toll bill, may relieve a case of homesickness.
If the farm home does not have bathing facilities, an old oil barrel may be cleaned out, a faucet attached, an old syrup pail with the bottom perforated with small nail holes hung on the faucet and the barrel mounted six feet from the ground affords a good shower bath. If the water is pumped in the barrel in the morning, it will usually be warm enough for a comfortable shower by evening.
It has been reported that soldiers and marines coming back from service on the fighting front seek first a good bath. It seems a refreshing bath is a morale builder.
Of course, it is not for sound reasons that these boys are turning to farm work but just as our fighting men need some social life, so also an occasional invitation to social gatherings in the community may well pay good dividends.
After all, if the Golden Rule is applied to our treatment of these town boys who are conscientiously trying to make themselves useful to their nation in time of war, we perhaps need not worry about results.