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A couple of young cowgirls riding horses near Chinook, Montana…and making little girls in the city who want a pony very jealous. → License Photo

There’s been a lot of talk online lately about whether or not it is better to raise a child in the country or in the city. What most of those doing the talking won’t tell you is that most of them live in the city. Less than 19% of America lives in rural areas any more. And of those, slightly less than two percent live on farms or ranches.

And although I am biased having grown up on a farm myself, I think those in the city who think children in the country live a sheltered life should visit a farm or ranch before they draw certain conclusions.

I was in Madison, Wisconsin recently and one of the first things I noticed was how wired America’s youth were. You cannot walk down a street or in an urban building without seeing the majority of people tied to their cell phones. Most of them in fact are glued to it while they walk. Children, too, cannot escape the long reach of those shiny electronic devices. It seems they have become one of the greatest parental aids every known. If a child acts up, hand them an iPhone or tablet. But is that parenting? What is that doing to those children.

By contrast when I make farm and ranch photography I seldom see children playing video games or flipping through a smart phone. Quite the opposite. Does that mean they aren’t as advanced as those same kids in the city? On the contrary. I would argue that they are in many ways more advanced.

As you view these 20+ photos of country kids please take a moment to really look at what they are doing. There is not an electronic device anywhere to be found. Without the “luxury” of super fast computers and 1000 television channels, these children in rural America entertain themselves. They express themselves. They have an imagination. And as studies show this independence, interpersonal communication, and play time helps develop life skills and better prepare them for the challenges of adulthood.

When I make agricultural photography I enjoy photographing the kids on farms and ranches. Their happiness, youthfulness, and innocence is infectious. And not a single one of them looks like they miss the trappings of city life. Do they?

Reminder I Am Getting Old(er)
Mock-Ups of Cowgirl Photos

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