I love to learn. I love to teach. When I was young, I had the notion that I wanted to spend my life being a classroom teacher. This idea never materialized, but I do still hold true to my love of sharing what I know.
Not a week goes by that I do not get a request to do a public speaking engagement. Because of my loyalties to my family and my farm, I have to turn down 75% of the requests. It always hurts just a little when I have to say “no” because of my personal love of educating.
This week, I had three invitations that I felt compelled to honor. I left home at 5:30 am Wednesday morning and drove 3 and ½ hours to Omaha, Nebraska where I spent the morning speaking to a high school class at Bryan High School, and the afternoon with a class of 3rd graders at Edward “Babe” Gomez Heritage Elementary.
The 3rd grade class was my family’s Agriculture in the Classroom Pen Pal (AITC) class and we have been writing letters and sharing pictures with one another all throughout the school year. What a wonderful class of children and what a great teacher!
The AITC program is a nation-wide outreach program that connects farm families with urban classrooms so that children can better learn about agriculture. Interacting “first hand” with these students is a truly gift. Our family gets to know some wonderful young people every year, and the students are able to better learn how we grow cattle and crops on our farm.
On Thursday morning, I headed back to Lincoln, Nebraska to participate in a series of discussions with woman students involved in the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Nebraska.
I love to interact with college students—their passion and excitement is contagious, and it is one of my greatest joys to be able to mentor young adults who want to become involved in the beef community. I am always thankful for the opportunity to share my knowledge with the next generation of cattle farmers.
Today as I return home, I am thinking of the future and all of the ways that I can continue to work for improvement both on my farm and in the larger community.
I know that the personal sacrifices that I make to reach out to others are both my responsibility and my gift. And, I am thankful for my family and my crew for picking up the “extra chores” that result from my temporary absence from our farm.
We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started…Henry Ward Beecher