- “I did it all by myself!” many a small child is proud to exclaim after learning to tie his shoes or ride a bike. This past summer, our teenagers left for a trip to Disney World, by themselves. While this was a wonderful break from routine for them, it turned my routine completely on its head, as I got to do some things “all by myself” as I assumed many of their farm, household and even business responsibilities.
1. Buttercup Ranch and Creamery – each morning I slipped on my muck boots, grabbed the milk tote and drove 5 miles down the road to our farm. Two kids from another family that usually do the evening farm chores, Mary and Judah, got the cows from the field and put the first one into the milking head gate (a wooden contraption that Rich built to hold the cow still while milking) for me.
While they were doing that, I lit the camp stove that we use to heat up water for sanitizing and washing the milking machine parts. This sounds easy enough, but I’m not very confident with matches! After using up several matches, I finally lit one and carefully held it over the burner, and it lit. Success!
I cleaned off the cow’s teats and, with help, got the machine on the cow. Now it was simply a matter of watching the milk flow from the cow through the clear tubes and into the milk tote.
Once the milk was no longer flowing, we released the pressure valve and pulled the machine off the cow. Cow #1 was released and #2 locked in. Repeat everything.
Occasionally the cow was in a mood and kicked off the machine. We would quickly clean it off and reattach it to the cow. I usually required help to get all four teat cups reconnected.
The cows were put back in the field and I cleaned the milk machine. This is a detailed process of dipping, scrubbing, brushing and rinsing.
Once this was done, I felt a great sense of accomplishment. Something that I had at first dreaded and worried about, I was now enjoying!
2. R & R Woodcrafts and Graphics – Those who deal with me in a business sense know me as the office manager and graphic designer. I occasionally help out in the woodshop, usually helping during a time crunch or a busy season. Before he left on a business trip, my husband Rich asked if I could ship a case to a customer. Our daughter Kaity is in charge of shipping, and I have helped pack up cases before, so I thought “Sure, I can do that.”
With everyone gone, I walked into the shop and realized…”Whoa…I have to make the product box that the case goes into. I also have to make the shipping box.
The product box was fairly easy, but the shipping box was a large piece of cardboard with indented lines.
At a time like this, my first thought is…”Who can help me or who can do this for me?” I texted Rich and Heather, the daughter in Florida who had the cell phone. Rich thought I should wait until the kids got home, and Heather was going to talk to Kaity once they met up again.
I changed my whole mindset, thinking…no one else can do this for me…I will just have to figure it out myself. And I did!
Hopefully the customer who received this case will forgive the “interesting”shipping box. I realized as I made it that I did not do everything exactly correctly (good thing Kaity was not there!), but it was good enough…it worked, and I got the job done. And I know how I will do it better next time.
So, how does this relate to you? Don’t put off hard things. So what if you make a mistake? That’s how you learn! And you will have a great sense of accomplishment of having conquered a task that seemed insurmountable.
Also, don’t be too proud to get help. While I gained great self-confidence in doing many of the farm chores myself, I knew my limitations. I could not have done it without Mary and Judah. I guess I need to help more on the farm, and learn how to get the cows from the field, and attach the milking machine by myself. There’s always next time…
I am super appreciative of our kids and all they do for our business. If they hadn’t left, and I hadn’t had to assume their jobs, I would not have realized how much value they add to our business. For you, realize those who help you and thank them. And maybe give them a break once in awhile.
Question: what challenge or difficult task have you taken on and tackled? Or maybe you’re facing a hard thing now and could use some encouragement. Is it time to swallow your pride and ask for help? Or would it do you good to do this thing “all by yourself?” We’d love to hear your comments, questions, or encouragement.