Last week, I joined Idaho rancher Kim Brackett to film a podcast for the monthly joint effort by Purdue University and Beef Magazine known as The Beef Roundtable. Our podcast will run in December and offers information on “sharing the beef story”. As I prepared for the filming, I found a quote that resonated with me. I think that it provides a perfect point of reflection for the week of Thanksgiving. James Thurber states:
There are two kinds of light —
The glow that illuminates and the glare that obscures.
Finding the quote sparked some quiet personal introspection in the days that followed. I asked myself:
- Do my words and actions provide a glow that illuminates?
- Am I a vehicle that allows others to find new and beneficial knowledge for their journey of continuous improvement?
- Do I make a positive difference in the lives of others?
There exists no greater honor than being a catalyst for positive change. I not only believe that on a philosophical level, but I also try to work for that in my life. It starts with a willingness to respect the thoughts of others, and continues with the quiet strength needed to persevere kindly amidst a myriad of opinions.
Over the weekend, I took my oldest daughter to visit Notre Dame University and then attend the Division 1 NCAA College Cross Country Championships. My favorite farmer and I believe that our girls will gain both knowledge and motivation by experiencing life outside of our farm. While it is hard for us to imagine them leaving home, we realize that a broad perspective will provide an illuminating glow as they make their way to adulthood.
The trip accomplished a number of “bucket list” items for my favorite brunette.
On the way to Notre Dame, we pulled off the road and found Lake Michigan. The pure joy you see on my daughter’s face comes not just from seeing the lake and dipping her toes in the water; but also from her realization that I value what is important to her.
Sometimes the glow that illuminates exists by simply allowing others to realize that what holds importance to them holds similar importance to you — just because you care.
I found this unselfish spirit pervasive on the Notre Dame campus. It was obvious to me that the culture of compassion and respect found on campus provided a healthy and happy environment for the students. Just as I know that I will always treasure my daughter’s smile, I also realize that fueling it comes from her innate ability to find her passion and express it with kindness. The true light that illuminates glows from an unselfish desire to improve the lives of others.
Creating this type of culture rests within our reach — we simply need to embrace it.
Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving!