Over the past several months, I have been reflecting on my time growing up on our farm and how those experiences prepared me for the work at the arboretum. It is a privilege not everyone has the opportunity to experience and was a time in my life that I have taken for granted. There was always something to learn, always something to do, whether for work or play. Inherent danger lurked around every corner or piece of equipment. There was planting, growing, and harvesting. Experiencing those things were the best childhood times. They were so simple – at least that’s how I perceived them.
Here are some lessons I learned from the farm:
- Work hard at whatever you do. Then enjoy the fruits of your labor.
- Always beware of danger.
- The product is a result of planning, timing and a little luck.
- The land is a finite resource and should be cared for properly.
- Never give up, but persevere through challenges.
- Problems can be solved with a little creativity, a little ingenuity, a little time, a little common sense and/or maybe even a little bailing wire.
Certainly, there are more lessons than these six that I took from my time on the farm. I was always exposed to something new. A new way to plant, a new way to grow, a new way to harvest. Sometimes there was pain that resulted in growth. I don’t farm anymore – at least not on that level – but those experiences shape how I work and play today. They even shaped how I think about the land and maybe even helped develop my “land ethic”. I think each of us has formative moments in our lives that change us. What are those moments for you? Do those highlights impact who you are today? It’s something to think about.