This section is from the book "Scouting For Rural Boys. A Manual For Leaders", by Boy scouts of America. See also: Outdoor Adventure Manual: Essential Scouting Skills for the Great Outdoors.
The farm family sets an educational ideal for the nation as a whole, as the atmosphere of the rural home surrounded with the quiet eternal realities of growing things-no bluff, but dependable things- gives to the child character opportunities and experiences of far-reaching importance. The farm home is or may be quite ideal for the rearing of young citizens. The home is particularly "united". The farm industry centers there. Recreation tends to be sought as a group. It is a reading, a thinking, a discussing family. They confer about what to do next. It is an informed family.
The farm family is perhaps the most cooperative and cohesive group of people in the world and therefore the most complete home. All members of the family, father, mother, children and others, who may be privileged to live within the family circle, are wholly in touch with one another's work, interest and activities. Everything of the household, barnyard or the farm, is common knowledge to all members of the family. This is less true with families of town and city, because the work program or life work interests of various members of the family are not, as a rule, within the one unit or plant. The rural family live together longer, because there is always plenty of work on the farm for the older children, and the farm constitutes a "home-base" where they can be carried in times of unemployment. The limited financial income of the American farm family requires that every member of the family old enough to work, must do their share of chores, garden, farm or orchard work as well as help in the home; their limited incomes also restrict their going and coming and spending away from home. Winter nights, stormy days and evenings at home offer many recreational, social and educational advantages, and most farm families do not have enough of any one of these nor do they have enough help of social, recreational and educational programs which are more readily available to the city people. In some respects, this promotes more self-dependence, greater versatility and use of their own talent, and leads to creation of their own games and social programs. Picnics, celebrations, parties, excursions, trips and family visits usually include the whole family. They go together as a family unit more than do any other class of people.
The automobile and good roads are great blessings to the farm family, when properly used, but a menace when improperly used or when worked too much by our "trade dollar" and commercial-entertainment leaders to detract from rural neighborhood programs and develop too strongly the desire on the part of farm young people to leave home in order to get all of their fun, adventure, education, recreation and social programs.
It is clearly the purpose of Scouting to help leaders of country life to build for a more contented farm family, a more adequate and balanced program to include not only work, but cultural, social and recreational opportunities, to develop a greater appreciation for the farm and all of its environment.
We ask Scout leaders to help parents of farm boys to stimulate their enthusiasm, interest and participation in local programs and events and to make Sundays, holidays, birthdays and community events strength-producing influences in the building of a finer "Rural America." We further recommend that farm young people be encouraged to participate in and with community programs of their own home and nearby trade centers in a free, happy and unselfish way.
The time was when the farm family was regarded as being independent "as a hog on ice." .This is not true today-the spread of cooperatives in recent years illustrates the readiness of farmers to cooperate with each other and the fact of their having done so is evident on every hand. They have worked together to secure desired legislation. Cooperatives are, now organized on a sectional and commodity basis in all parts of America.
The time was when cheap wit caricatured farmers as "hicks", which is quite belied by the high percentage of college-trained people, which is exceeded only by a few of the professions. And too, as already mentioned, the farmer sends his children to school and college and thence to permeate every walk of life.
There is a fine loyalty about the rural neighbor-hood-loyalty to its people and to their institutions- a fine atmosphere for growing youngsters.
Viewed as institutions for the growing of young people of character, who can work and bear responsibility, escaping many of the artificialities of city life- the farm and the farm home rank very high in what they have to offer to a child.