The color of my eyes has always been brown. My eyesight has always been average. The world as I see it out of my average brown eyes continues to evolve and change. When I think back to the way that I viewed the world as a 22 year old urbanite college graduate, it is easy to note a fairly drastic change in my perspective.
Encarta defines perspective as “a particular evaluation of a situation or facts, especially from one person’s point of view”. I believe that life is a journey and one’s perspective dictates the lens of the camera through which the journey is viewed and documented. The ever changing lens of perspective channels both our beliefs and our resulting actions as we pass through that journey of life.
There is no doubt that my life has undergone massive changes in the last 15 years. I left the city, moved to rural America, went to work on a cattle farm, learned how to run a small agricultural business, gave birth to three beautiful girls, and was challenged for several years with a chronic illness. Every single one of those momentous events (and the hundreds of smaller ones that went along with them) has altered my perspective and shaped the way that I now view the world.
Learning to understand the perspective of a prey animal has been invaluable to me in both my quest for self-improvement and my vocation of caring for cattle. Spending each day interacting with animals that view the world so very differently from the way that I do has quite literally opened my eyes and taken me to a new level of observation. There is no doubt that the perspective that I have gained from my animals has not only changed my thought processes, but has also likely created a perspective that is different from many of you who do not spend your days surrounded by cattle.
I tell my children that empathy is one of the most important traits to develop. Having the ability to understand another’s feelings is a life skill that is intrinsically tied to success—I would be unable to properly care for either my family or my animals without it, and would likely also do a very poor job of explaining my feed yard to you! I ask myself routinely what your (my reader’s) perspective looks like as I write my blog posts. Just as I try to view the world through the eyes of my cattle, I also try to view the world through the eyes of someone who does not live on a farm.
After my experiences over the last couple of weeks writing the Lean Finely Textured Beef blog posts, and then having them circulate through social media resources via BlogHer and a couple of other non-agricultural blogs; I am realizing that I need to continually work on understanding the perspective of my urban consumers. Although I used to be that person, my life has changed so drastically in the last 15 years that we now view the world through different lenses. While I work on this, I would like to encourage all of you to continue interacting with me via Feed Yard Foodie so that you can share some of my perspective and we can also hopefully develop a new shared perspective together.
I put the Interactive Feed Yard Foodie Cattle Handling Challenge up last week as a way to inspire all of you to broaden your perspective and try to “think like a calf”. I also have a few early posts from last spring that will help you to do this. If you missed them, you can use these links to read them: http://feedyardfoodie.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/understanding-how-a-calf-thinks-and-what-he-needs%E2%80%A6a-cornerstone-of-good-care/, http://feedyardfoodie.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/empathy%E2%80%99s-role-in-caring-for-food-animals%E2%80%A6/.
I want to end this week with both a promise and a request…
- I promise to steadfastly try to understand your perspective and realize that you will invariably view the world differently that I do.
- I ask that you please help me to understand your perspective, and also to open your minds to the perspective of a cattle farmer who spends her days working with animals that are grown with the express purpose of raising beef. Additionally, I ask that you recognize that the perspective of my animals is very different than any human perspective and must be properly understood in order to offer appropriate care specific to those animals.