If you can have a favorite commercial (and I think that’s totally acceptable if you work in advertising) mine is the 2013 Dodge Super Bowl commercial, “So God Made a Farmer.” I’m not sure if it was Paul Harvey’s words or the the captivating imagery, but suddenly I felt seven-years-old again watching my dad intently, trying to imitate his every move.
Line after line, Paul Harvey highlights every admirable quality I see daily in my dad. With Father’s Day drawing near, the realization of just how blessed I am to have grown up with a ranch dad is at the forefront of my mind. In honor of all the ranch dads out there, I wanted to share 5 lessons I learned from my ranching father that I am thankful for every day.
1. Everyone and everything deserves our respect.
There’s a saying to “treat the janitor with as much respect as the CEO.” My dad lived this, every day. He instilled the importance of how to treat each other, the land and the livestock in my sister and I.
2. It’s not luck, it’s hard work.
It’s almost become cliché in the agricultural industry—the notion that hard work = success. I read it in every blog, hear it in every statistic, that those who grew up in agriculture just know how to work hard. Though it may be cliché, it’s true. For me, my dad was the best example of that. From Christmas morning in a blizzard to the dead heat of July—the work is never done. We were lucky enough to live an agricultural lifestyle, it is our job to be shepherds of it. I am thankful that I was able to watch this example first hand.
3. You’re never done learning.
We always joke in my family that trying to get dad to leave ANYWHERE quickly doesn’t happen. He is always stopping to talk to someone about something or asking a follow up question. As a man with all women in his family, he is accustom to meeting our “let’s go” glares with this single statement, “I was learning something.” There is never a moment in my dad’s life that he isn’t interested in learning a new technique, or how so-and-so installed a new piece of equipment, or the success rate of a new bull. He is the embodiment of a life-long learner.
4. There’s no reward in life without risks.
I am an over thinker, an analyzer, a stressor by nature. I am the first person to point out that one in a million chance why something might not work. My dad, on the other hand, has taught me that sometimes you just have to stop thinking about it and just get outside and try it. Not everything will work out, but if you don’t start, if you don’t take that risk you will never reap the rewards.
5. Life isn’t fair.
Paul Harvey said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt, and watch it die, then dry his eyes and say, ‘maybe next year.’” This lesson is the most challenging and one I still struggle with. The nature of the beast in the agricultural industry is that things will go wrong—not for a lack of knowledge, work, passion—just because that’s the way this industry works. My dad taught me that you have to move on, try again, don’t give up.
I feel so lucky to have grown up with a dad that shared his passion for this industry with his family. This Father’s Day I hope we can all reflect and celebrate the qualities learned from hard working ranch dads everywhere. To my own, thank you for your lessons—I know they aren’t finished!
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