For some, equating pleasure with physical labor is a hard sell and may even seem romanticized. Yet for more than two decades I have observed firsthand the transformation of young people's attitudes towards physical labor as many of them experience it for the first time. I've watched young people come to work on the farms at Brunnenburg Castle, Green Mountain College, and my own homestead, and many of them leave with a newfound respect and enthusiasm for hearty labor. They seem to revel in the playfulness and satisfaction of demanding tasks that yield tangible results.
Unfortunately, our urban and suburban environments are constructed on the premise of a trading toils for ease, at least in life at home between the demands of job, school, and civic activities. Our skyrocketing obesity rates, the rise of energy-intensive modern conveniences, and a galaxy of sedentary entertainment options must have some correlation with how infrequently our young people encounter real physical labor. Yet I refuse to concede cynicism about any generation's lack of understanding or appreciation for hard work. It's simply difficult to appreciate anything that one has seldom or never encountered -- especially if the rewards haven't been made clear.
From Up Tunket Road.
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