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I have figured out the secret to getting my kids out on the horses more often. Threaten to sell the horses. It worked like a charm. 

Recently, we let the kids each have a friend over to play and spend the night. Some girls are naturally enamored with horses. It is so much fun watching kids from town come out and enjoy something new. We saddled up all the horses and the girls rode them until it was almost too dark to see to unsaddle them. This was a delight.

The next morning, I had to go to work. The kids got my husband out of bed to help them get them saddled to ride again. By this time, they neighbors were out riding too. That evening, after all their friends had gone home, they asked me if we could go out for another evening ride. I loved it.

It is peak garden season. I have cucumbers coming out of my eyeballs. I have made cucumbers and onions, cucumber salad and cucumber sandwiches. But of course, our summer is not complete until we have canned lots and lots of dill pickles. Thankfully, my youngest daughter has been canning right alongside me. I am enjoying this preservation apprentice.

I went outside one evening after we had cleaned up the kitchen from our canning fest and watched in awe as my oldest son was wrenching on a vehicle without any help. I often catch each of my kids in the shop learning how to weld, do mechanical work and get other practical lessons from my husband.

We are all spending a lot of time with our families right now. For many of us, that time is spent at home. I have learned so many things about our children since March. Some things are good. Some of the things I have learned are areas where they (or we) could use some improvement. 

Even though neither my husband nor I are certified educators, I really believe our kids are still learning at home. They are gaining life skills. They are learning to get along with their siblings. They are also learning to be flexible. I believe we are all learning humility.

The leadership team in our local school district is trying to discern the safest way to move forward with public education for the 2020-2021 school year. Surveys have been sent out. Social media arguments for virtual vs. classroom and mask vs. no mask continue daily. I have no clue what the perfect scenario is for the current situation in Arkansas. We do believe as a family that it is time to move forward into our “new normal.” 

I have watched both of our daughters work to prepare for tryouts for sports teams at the junior high and high school. We were so proud when their hard work paid off. My hope is that our community can creatively and safely find ways to see each of these children “do their thing” at school or on the ball fields. I have loved watching our kids learn to enjoy some of our favorite things this summer. 

No matter what path moves us forward this fall, please know that I am praying for all of us dear neighbor.

Jody Harris is a freelance communications specialist, gardener, ranch wife and mother of four. She and her family raise Angus beef cattle and other critters on their northwest Arkansas ranch. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Jody, go to ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’

Jody HarrisEditorial / OpinionsHorses,Jody Harris,Letting kids do their thingsI have figured out the secret to getting my kids out on the horses more often. Threaten to sell the horses. It worked like a charm. Recently, we let the kids each have a friend over to play and spend the night. Some girls are naturally enamored with horses. It...The Ozarks' most read farm newspaper, reaching more than 58,000 readers in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma