A letter :: I don’t care what you become

Dear Aspen, Oakley, and Lindy.

I really don’t care what you want to be when you grow up. That’s right, I just don’t care that much. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I think your interests today are fascinating. I want to hear all about your plans and dreams every step of the way.

When you, Aspen, tell me you still want to be a farmer, I’m hooked. And when you tell me you want to be a doctor, and veterinarian, and countless other things I can’t remember, I’m enthralled.

________________

We saw a movie a couple of nights ago called “Food, Inc.

It was, frankly, pretty interesting. While the topic of food and how it’s produced is important, it’s not the story here. In that movie, Joel Salatin was interviewed (as he was for one of Mom’s favorite books of the moment, The Omnivore’s Dilemma). Joel Salatin, well, he’s a little bit crazy, in the good way. He thinks of himself as a grass farmer. He goes to the end of the earth in his system of rotating cattle and pigs and chickens to care for the grass he’s growing. He does all this to produce healthy, grass fed, beyond organic meats.

Joel is a farmer, yes. Farming is, without doubt, an honorable profession. Is it one that people often associate with the very smartest folks? Rightly or wrongly, it just isn’t. But you know what? Joel Salatin is smart, really smart. You can feel it when he’s interviewed. He doesn’t dumb down farming… he raises it to an art form. He does with animal poop what thousands of farmers struggle to do with endless chemicals, because he’s the smartest guy in the room.

________________

Do I want you to be a farmer, Aspen? Sure. Do I want Oakley to cut people’s hair? If that’s what she really wants.

But please, children, be amazing. Revolutionize garbage collection. Inspire actuaries. Thrill exterminators. Invigorate SCORM. But never be embarrassed to be the smartest* person in the room doing something you choose to do.

I love smart. And I love you.

Dad

  • If you think “smart” means getting 100% on every test by studying endlessly, please see a future post on why homework stinks…

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