I’m going to tell you something about me that you might not know. Can you keep a secret? Do you promise to keep my secret? I’m a big fan of farmers. I know that sounds crazy doesn’t it? An urban dweller like me having more than a passing interest in farmers. Yet, it’s true. I absolutely dig farmers.
Now before I go further, let me give a point of clarification. I’m not talking about the farmers on the dating sight Farmers Only either. I’m going to just put it out there. I’m ecstatic – maybe not as much as the farm animals – that Jill isn’t walking the corn field again because she’s lonely however my interest in farmers has nothing to do with finding a mate.
CITY FOLKS JUST DON’T GET IT
I suppose I should be more specific about my interest in farmers because as the Farmers Only commercial motto states “city folks just don’t get it”. Odds are that like me, you are a “city folk”. Thus you are probably clueless as to why I believe farmers are such a big deal. Let me tell you this farmers aren’t just a big deal. Farmers are a really big deal.
Farmers are responsible for providing sustenance for all of us “city folk”. Some might even want to blame farmers for the health and appearance of those “city folk” among us who have overindulged in sustenance. We can talk about the epidemic levels of obesity in America at another time. For now, I just want to let you know why you should be fascinated with the vocation of farming.
SYMBOL OF HOPE
I use to think that only Superman’s “S” stood for hope that was until I took a closer look at farming. Farming is emblematic of hope. Farming is a real life example for the average Joe’s and Jane’s to remain optimistic.
Farming – for the non-comic book fan – is illustrative of the life process we can all follow to keep us on the right path. Now that I’ve examined farming, I’ve discovered another model for what it means to keep pressing forward when it seems irrational and feels unnatural to do so.
The Farmers Only Way, as I forever declare it to be known, is a process for moving forward when you feel all hope is lost and you are ready to defer your dreams. The Farmers Only Way is a process that every parent should first learn and apply to our own lives. The moment a parent masters the Farmers Only Way, we must teach it to our children and make sure that they utilize it in all aspects of their lives.
THE FARMERS ONLY WAY
What exactly is the Farmers Only Way? Well I thought you’d never ask. The best way for me to explain it – to you “city folks” – is to look at the four repetitive aspects of farming. The following four repetitive aspects have not only sustained humanity for thousands of years, they will teach you and your children to persevere if and whenever you start to lose hope.
1. Plow – The first thing a farmer has to do is cultivate the land. For farmers this means eliminating everything that might prohibit a bountiful harvest. Removing debris and turning over the land are operations typically associated with plowing.
Figuratively, in order to reach our goals or make our dreams a reality, we must plow like the farmer. We must remove everything from our life that might prohibit us from fulfilling our potential. Removing the impediments of life (i.e. self-loathing and fear) and cutting off toxic relationships (i.e. those that drain us of independence and self-determination) is paramount. It all begins with plowing.
2. Plant – Before planting the seeds, the farmer painstakingly selects the best seed. The seed selected is one that is expected to provide the best harvest. When the farmer plants her seeds, she plants them deep enough that they will not get blown away by the wind or consumed by rodents.
When we work to achieve our goals and objectives, we must meticulously select our course of action just as the farmer does when selecting the seed. We must embed our aspirations deeply within our hearts, souls and minds so that our convictions will make it impossible for hard times to blow us off our path or for the human rodents –naysayers – to eat away at our dreams.
3. Fertilize – Farmers apply fertilizer to their crops to enhance the yield. In some cases the fertilizer is synthetic while other times farmers use natural fertilizer. Regardless of the type of fertilizer used, the goal of enhancing the growth of plants is met one of two ways: by feeding nutrients directly into the plant and/or by feeding the soil where the plants have taken root.
Fertilizer is a necessity in the process of fulfilling our potential and making our dreams a reality. In some cases the fertilizer we apply to enrich our lives is artificial like the way Michael Jordan imagined slights by opponents to feed his competitive spirit. At other times, the manure others heap on us is unmistakably authentic – both textured and stinky.
Natural or artificial fertilizer aside, our mission remains unchanged. We are to use the fertilizer as a nutrient to enhance the progression of life. We must teach our children to use the doubt of others as the diesel fuel which powers their dreams. We must teach our children to use criticism as the compost which sustains their relentless pursuit of excellence.
4. Water – Irrigation is a central feature of farming. During the best of times, irrigation is unnecessary. Farmers plant their seed and rely on nature – rainfall to water the soil. However, there are occasions when nature fails to provide ample moisture. When rainfall is insufficient, farmers employ various types of irrigation techniques to supply their plants with water.
Hydration is just as important for humans as it is for plants. Physiologically, the human body breaks down when it is dehydrated. The brain, the heart and other vital organs malfunction and even shutdown completely depending on the severity of a person’s dehydration.
Figuratively, our dreams can be interrupted or worse terminated when we fail to keep our hopes saturated. The American screen writer, Steven Rogers, wrote “just give hope a chance to float up. And it will.” Mr. Rogers is correct but if hope is to have the slightest chance to float up parents will have to be fully engaged and be purposeful participants in our children’s lives. It is also incumbent of parents to show children how to remain encouraged and optimistic so that the moisture exists to keep hopes alive and conditions persist for spirits to stay afloat even during times of drought and famine – temporary setbacks, trials and tribulations.
FARMING LIFE CYCLE
I apologize to any real farmer who might find my lay person analysis of farming too simplistic. Without question, I’m the first to admit that farming has complexities that are well beyond my “city folk” comprehension.
Yet for the purposes of helping our children, I believe the analogy has merit. If parents and children alike are going to achieve our goals and realize our dreams, we would be wise to practice the Farmers Only Way.
Farming is not an immediate gratification process. If that’s what you are looking for this methodology is not for you. Farming is a repetitive elongated process. Farming illustrates for us the value in doing the tedious little things each and every day because it is in the performance of the monotonous tasks that we will eventually reap a bountiful harvests. So if your child has a dream that they desperately want to realize, it might be time for you to learn and then teach them the Farmers Only Way.
Have you ever tried farming? How do you teach and encourage your children to remain hopeful so that they can pursue their dreams?
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