What would a farm be without cows?! Bunches of them. The dairy farm I grew up on was no different. Turns out, cows need tending to daily. If it rained the cows were muddy. If they were out in the pasture they had to be herded in for milking. Regardless, they needed to be cared for.
We were all expected to help. If there was a blizzard, if it was pouring rain, or 100 plus degrees with a million flies around – the cows still had to be milked twice a day. It didn’t matter if you wanted to go on vacation, if there was a wedding, or a big event at school – the cows couldn’t wait.
Cows are like that.
I look back to the days of milking cows. At the time, I didn’t like it. Now, I am grateful for that life experience I had as a kid. I am grateful for the lessons I learned about work ethic and responsibility. And I am thankful for the lessons about caring for living animals, knowing they were dependent on you.
Life is like that. The things we think are horrific at the time, don’t seem so terrible when we look back on them. What we don’t see at the time is how those times are shaping and molding us into the people we are today. It is during those hard times that our character is being developed. These things help define who we are deep down.
It is almost as if I can hear my dad saying…”See, it wasn’t so bad!”
He would be right of course. It wasn’t so bad. I learned discipline. I learned responsibility. I learned the importance of doing what you said you were going to do. I learned that if I didn’t – things and others suffered. I learned to work as a team. I even learned how to laugh together in the midst of the work. Flies and all.
These are life lessons I now cherish. Memories I often wish I could have given my own children. These are things I am thankful for.
We all have past experiences. Have you forgotten? Are you able to live in such a way to reflect what you have learned? Those life lessons are a gift, a gift to be thankful for.
Everyday leaders see and are thankful for life experiences. Those experiences that were good and those that were difficult. Everyday leaders intentionally live in such a way that their lives reflect the gift of the lessons learned.