As soon as spring planting begins, I start to reminisce about a sacred rite of passage for many an Iowan: Detasseling

Yes, the art of removing the pollen-producing flowers from corn plants to produce hybrid corn. I did it for four straight summers, and I enjoyed it.

For several weeks, I'd get up at 4:00 a.m. and drive to a high school parking lot. I'd then get on a bus, travel miles out of town, and spend the rest of the day walking through rows of corn.

I'd get soaked in the morning, fried in the afternoon, and be covered from head to toe with dirt by the end of the day. It could be exhausting, but it was also rewarding. I picked up some serious work ethic through detasseling. I also earned some nice cash, especially for a high school kid.

I prided myself on not using gloves -- calloused hands were a badge of honor. The leaves of the corn plants would cut at my arms; I didn't care. This was real work.

If you have kids and don't want to look at them spending their entire summer in front of a computer or TV, get them on a detasseling crew. They'll learn a thing or two.