Some of my fondest memories, were helping my dad on the farm. While my dad was a teacher, he was also a farmer. There was a rental house on the farm near where we kept our pigs. I would play with pigs and then walk next door to visit. I could not tell you the name of the couple that lived in the house, but I remember that they were very nice and gave me snacks my mom didn’t buy for us. While I was “helping” my dad on the farm, on several occasions I saw the husband outside smoking. One day I decided to march over to their house and I knocked on the door. When they opened the door I proceeded to TELL them, “If you smoke you choke if you booze you lose.”
I have no idea where this came from and I am sure my dad was mortified, though maybe a bit proud, when they told him what I had said. They were laughing and thought my comments were cute, however they had just been scolded by a 5 year old. This is my first memory of being an advocate for what I thought was right. How do we learn to be an advocate at such a young age? I would be remiss if I didn’t say my upbringing played a huge part in how I became the person I am today. When I was 5 I was apparently on an anti-smoking and boozing campaign.
Today my real calling has more to do with being a mom, but I had a comical start. Growing up raising animals prepared me for my adult role in agriculture. I think we are all constantly figuring out the different ways we contribute to society, and as we age I truly think our roles change. Finding your voice and continually learning how to effectively communicate is an ongoing process.
I feel very confident that if I was not a cute little child with that dimple and long braids, the reaction I would have gotten would not have been perceived the same. Fast forward 30 some years and I have learned when to say what I believe to be true. Other times, it is more important to listen and hold back to be a more effective part of the conversation. Sometime we can be most influential when we say nothing at all. Whether you are five or 85, stand up for what you believe in and be a courageous communicator, just figure out the best way to be courageous.