The most important thing to learn…..is how to learn.

Yes, I said that to a high school FFA group recently at about 7:30 am.  Some of them heard it, but I doubt many of them could comprehend it until much later when they actually woke up!  🙂  I was asked to come speak to the kids about our show calf operation and how we do marketing.  It was a great opportunity to show some kids (75% of which are town kids with no ag involvement besides FFA according to their teacher) just how diverse your involvment can be in agriculture.  I shared with them everything from AI to calving, clipping to photography.  There weren’t a lot of questions, I did get about 6 or 8 kids who said they wanted to be involved in the beef industry in their futures.  I also reminded them that the careers they choose at 18 are likely not going to be what they do for the rest of their lives.  That was one reason I wanted to stress the diversity available in agriculture to them.

I know a young man who went to college and ended up with a marketing degree.  He really wanted to come home and raise cattle.  He knew he’d have to have additional income to grow his herd, so he has a job right now in seed sales and insurance sales.  He’s taking time to learn more about marketing cattle and how to video and put the videos together for potential customers.  Will he always be a seed salesman?  Probably not, but for right now, it’s a way to provide income to invest in his cow herd.  

When I was 18, I was certain I would be a teacher in the public school system, married to Mike, who would farm full time.  Mike farmed until Jesse was 6 months old.  He then started working full time at a town job and full time farming on his off shift from the plant.  I never taught in the public schools.  I did homeschool our boys and therefore got to be a teacher.  Now I’m working at marketing and website work for a real estate company.  Our lives are nothing like we thought they would be at 18 and 21….they are so much better.

So, what did I mean when I told those FFAer’s that the most important thing to learn is how to learn?  I never graduated college and Mike never attended college.  Anytime we have needed to know how to do something, we’ve learned it.  The internet provides us a wealth of information that many of us don’t use to our benefit.  We have learned to search out information on cattle diseases and illnesses, how to wire a house, how to build and maintain a website and how to photograph cattle.  We know how to look for the information we need….we know how to learn what we need to learn.  If you just learn facts, that’s all you have – one set of facts.  If you learn how to find the facts and how to use them, you’ve learned how to learn.

Hopefully that made more sense to you than it did to the FFAer’s at 7:30 am.  I mean, it really is a part of the FFA motto right?  “Learn to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.”  Let’s all learn to do!

One thought on “The most important thing to learn…..is how to learn.

  1. Great post Mel, I have been aiming to come and read this for a while. You got through to several I have heard not only Cody but others mention your presentation, they were thoroughly impressed, thank you for sharing your viewpoint with them.

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