"We don't have to, we get to."
Mr. Ben Wiggins, the principal at Oconee County High School, is known in my community for repeating the saying above, over and over. He says it in school announcements, tweets it out with school pictures and often uses it in his school newsletters. It's his way of encouraging students to get involved with extracurricular activities, to go the extra mile and to show pride in their school community.
As you can imagine, teens at OCHS don't take the saying very serious and I am sure he receives plenty of eye rolls from them when he is speaking (including my two students). I admire his effort and hope that one day my children will too.
The saying "we don't have to, we get to" has a message that each of us can reflect on daily. It is so easy to lose sight of how fortunate we really are or to miss opportunities each day that can better ourselves, our businesses and our future.
Sure, there are chores that we all HAVE to do daily, like milking and feeding cows, replacing faulty equipment, scraping out the barn, laundry and feeding our families. That's life; we must do what is necessary to live and to earn a living. However, after completing our "duties", what we do next really does determine how far we will excel in life and on the farm.
I want to challenge you (myself included) to live in the moment and to be grateful and humble for all that we have been given. Let's all do a little extra on the farm or at the office each day to encourage fellow employees, family members and partners. Take a trip to a dairy conference (Hint: GA Dairy Conference), encourage the next generation to become more involved in the industry or learn a little each day about the exciting research or new technologies in the dairy industry that can improve your business.
Rather than looking at work or meetings as something that you have to do, be grateful for the opportunity to get to go to work, to learn and to strengthen relationships. Each day presents us with opportunity; we all just have to decide how far we want to take it.