Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Going It Alone—Day 13 of a Town Girl Touched by the Farming Life

            When most townspeople envision a farmer at work, they picture a solitary man traveling the fields alone atop his green and yellow tractor.  Farming can lead to a lonely, isolated life.  However, even farmers have found ways to socialize and interact with other men, hopefully for the betterment of all touched by this interaction.

            These guys like to portray themselves as the strong, independent John Wayne types, but you know they all cannot be so hungry at the same time every morning and unable to find enough to eat at home that they have to all be at a local restaurant at five in the morning.  Food may be their excuse, but fellowship and comradery is what brings them together.  Not all of them will hit the early morning restaurant. 

            Others will "go for a ride" instead.  These rough and tough men suggest they are out to see how the crops are coming along or checking on fences or getting some supplies of some sort.  Interestingly, however, their vehicles tend to find a way to pull into another farmer's barn lot or into a business that serves farmers but also seems to have employees (or owners) who take the time to "visit" with customers (or potential customers).  The motivation is the same:  fellowship and comradery.  Is this bad?  Far from it.  Actually, it is a good thing.

            At the college visit my daughters and I did this week, we happened to learn about some research the university had done.  Essentially, people who were desperate to lower their blood sugar level for health reasons had much greater success if they were part of a group learning environment rather than part of an individualized instruction situation only.  Now the patients who had both—individual and group learning—did best, yet when comparing those who only had one learning method, those in the group setting had the best success.  What is the difference?  Fellowship, comradery, support, encouragement, and understanding.    That truth is as evident with farmers as it is with city dwellers.  Both groups benefit from interaction with perceived peers.  Even the disciples of Jesus in their own little family-like relationship were touched by the direction to travel and work with a companion rather than going it alone.

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