On Freedom, Farming, and Life

By July 3, 2012Generations

Freedom's Lesson - Resolve & SolveGrowing up on a farm is a great way to learn about the value of freedom. If you ask different farmers why they do it, many of the answers will center on the sense of freedom it brings – from planting to growing to doing what will make their life work on their land.

What we pull from their thoughts is a sense of ownership and independence. From my years on our family farm, I remember the feeling of freedom. It came from the simple things. On the prairies, I could see for miles. It was a sense of endless opportunity and awe of what could be out in front of me. It also came from experimenting with various projects, from planting new things to raising different animals. I had an entrepreneurial attitude to what I could do, even as a teenager.

In farming, there are many uncontrollable elements, which can shift the results of the hard work. Weather has a way of determining a successful year or not, and there is not much a farmer can do about it other than pray real hard and buy crop insurance. No matter what comes their way, there is a resolution to solve the problems that arise. With the freedom embedded in farming brings a strong sense of responsibility, too.

This is the crux of freedom’s lesson. It is about the freedom itself, and our resolve to embrace and protect it. Freedom is also about our recognition of what freedom brings in terms of responsibility. The twist on the responsibility is this: It is about solving the challenges that come our way as they come our way.

Freedom is a two-way street. We have the ability to roam freely through the prairies of freedom. By being free, we discover that other elements freely flow towards us at times, and we need to solve these challenges as they come. We cannot ignore them, as it is part of our responsibility in order to keep and grow in our freedom.

If you ever meet a farmer, you will see the resolve in their eyes and the wrinkles in their skin. When you talk to them, you begin to understand how they solve problems and challenges as they arrive. It is about their livelihood, so waiting for a better time is not an option, nor is pointing a finger at someone else. What is understood is how freedom survives on how strong our resolve is and how we solve our challenges.

In our nation’s life, there is a lesson in freedom to gain from farmers. We cannot continue the finger-pointing or punting of solving the real problems facing us.

In our personal life, there is lesson in freedom to gain from farmers. If we want the freedom to live in a meaningful way, then we need to take on the responsibility of leading our life with resolution and solution.

When I look back now, I appreciate much more the value of growing up on a farm. The grounds were fertile in more ways than one. From the prairies spring lessons on how to embrace our freedom with the resolve to make it better for all those around us. From the storms unfurl the lessons of working through what is presented with straight-on courage and acceptance of our responsibility to act.

Let’s engage these lessons of freedom with a renewed (re)solve.

What lessons about freedom did you learn growing up?

Jon Mertz
Jon Mertz is one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business and highlighted as one of the Leaders to Watch in 2015 by the American Management Association. He also is the author of Activate Leadership: Aspen Truths to Empower Millennial Leaders. Jon serves as vice president of marketing at Corepoint Health. Outside of his professional life, Jon brings together a community to inspire Millennial leaders and close the gap between two generations of leaders.
Jon Mertz
Jon Mertz

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Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Hi Jon,
    I love this too. I am just learning to live freely and to allow things around me to do the same. I didn’t grow up on a farm, but I do seek nature to connect more deeply with yself and all that is. Embracing freedom and roaming both within nature and inside my soul has been very empowering for me. I am amidst a huge transformation. Thank you for this thought-provoking reaffirming post. : )

    • Jon M says:

      Shelley, Thank you so much for your comment and insights. Very grateful!

      Nature does play a central role in enabling us to learn and grow. There is something soul refreshing about nature.

      Thanks again, Shelley!


  • Lance says:

    I love this – because I can really relate to it! I, too, grew up in a farming community. We had a small farm, and I also helped neighbors and relatives on their farms. And there really is something about that which instills both a sense of freedom and a quality of work ethic.

    And I look back, and know that I’m who I am today – because of what began back on those farms…

    (I don’t always miss stacking hay bales, though, on hot summer days!!!)

    • Jon M says:

      I agree, Lance. Great to hear that you grew up on a farm, too. A great experience. What I don’t miss, though, is cleaning the hog barn. My dad always said it built character!

      Take care, and thanks! Jon

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