Summertime is special. As a farmer’s son, summers were a mix of freedom and work. We always had responsibilities from cultivating corn to cleaning barns to weeding our gardens. We also had a strong sense of freedom, being able to explore, think, and play. Summers produced a good farmer’s tan (arms up to our short sleeves, face and neck) and a refreshed inner wellbeing.

The prairies enlighten our souls with possibilities.


On the farm in the 1970s, few distractions happened. No technology connections. Three TV channels. AM radio. When city cousins visited, they experienced a new sense of freedom as well. There is something about an expansive prairie that clears minds and restores souls.

Although we didn’t feel change happening to ourselves, we changed a lot each summer. We grew in height, but we also grew in knowing who we were and what we wanted to be. Returning to school in August, we always felt different. We were not always 100% confident in who we were or who we wanted to be, but we were much closer to our inner confidence than when school ended the previous year.

Summer is a time of change.

In our corporate lives, we still go to work and do the work. However, the summer days at work feel a little different, too. Colleagues and teammates are little more relaxed and a little more open to ideas. Part of the reason may be summer vacations, getting that break from the norm. The other reason may be just because it is summer.

summer growthWhen we think about seasonal growth, springtime is usually the first place we think of. After all, we plant the seeds and see the sprouts. Summertime takes growth to new levels, though. Corn, for example, has a measure of being knee-high by the Fourth of July. In the spring, it is just a sprout and, by the end of summer, it is six feet tall. Summer empowers growth.

Summers are not perfect.

Droughts stunt. Hail hits. Winds damage. Uncontrollable elements always appear, and we regroup and determine what we do now. Procrastination is never an option. After all, farm life is real life. Without good crops, income suffers. When income suffers, providing for family life takes a hit as does giving to our community.

When the unexpected summer challenges strike, growth happens. If we do nothing in the face of uncertainty, uncertainty overtakes us, and we fail. More than personal failure, we fail others who need us.

Corporate summertime thumps us with the unexpected, too.

Microsoft announces big layoffs. QVC acquires HSN. Team members leave. Shifts accumulate. Within each action, we determine our next step. Even within the feeling of summer, trials punch. How we respond determines the strength of our character. More to the point, how we respond strengthens or weakens our character. Our character choices.

This is our summer of change.

Each summer produces growth. Our summer season balances our inner growth with our external tests.

The challenge is simple. We need to go deeper during the summertime. We need to deepen our sense of who we are and who we want to become. Within this deepened sense, we need to plan for growth and then act upon our plan.

Change with growth produces a good harvest with more seeds to plant next season. Without growth, change is just like a gust of wind, a brief feeling with no lasting impact.

The prairies enlighten our souls with possibilities. What we need to do is embrace our prairie vision, thrive through the challenges, enjoy our sense of freedom, and take who can be to the next level of fulfillment.

Summertime is here. What will you grow?


All Photos Copyright 2017 Jon Mertz. South Dakota.