This I Believe: I Believe We Should All Live Like A Family Farmer

Mar 1, 2018

We should all live our lives with the same spirit as the family farmer. This I believe. There are many life lessons to be learned from our nation’s farmers. They are quick to offer help in times of need, are reliable and responsible, and are protective of all in their care, whether it be family, livestock, or the land. I believe my grandfather was the perfect practitioner of these values through his lifetime. 

Farmers try to do things on their own as much as possible, but also understand they must not be too proud to ask for help. Such reliance on and respect for community is a key part of the farming culture. When farmers fall on hard times, whether it be mechanical failures or sickness, neighbors put their work aside to help, expecting nothing in return.

My grandfather helped his neighbors in times of need by planting, mowing, and combining. And, when he suddenly died with winter wheat in the ground, those family farmers returned to harvest his final crop. I believe we should all adopt this sense of camaraderie and kindness in support of others.

If you’ve spent much time with farmers, you know they work until the job is done. As such, I have not met more dependable and responsible people in my life. Whenever help was needed to fix a playground or move wrestling mats, our local farmers were the first to arrive and offer their equipment.

In my community, since they always start early, it’s wise to arrive an hour ahead because the farmers will already be there hard at work. Experiences like these have led me to believe that hard work done for the good of others truly matters.

Perhaps the most important value of the family farmer is to protect your loved ones the best you can. My grandfather held this value dear. Though he was a tall, quiet, and observant figure, he was the most protective and kind man I have known. My mother tells stories of how he sized up her high school dates and sternly announced a curfew (often very early) based on what he saw. He wasn’t hateful in his delivery, but was certainly protective in his desire to want the best for her. Luckily for us all, he did approve of my dad, who has always treated us well and made my mother happy.

Someday, I will follow his example, aiming to be as protective of my own family and help to ensure they have good lives. I believe we should abide the values of the family farmer: to be giving and receiving of help, reliable, and protective of our loved ones. As I go through life, I will try to live up to the standards my grandfather held for himself, and I believe that in doing so, a humble, giving, and respectable life will unfold.

Joel Cook reading his essay at the Rotary Club of Springfield Sunrise meeting.