Cultivating growth

by Miranda Reiman

Humans have a built-in desire to grow. But it’s not something that just happens. We must have a curiosity about us – a will and work ethic for the growing.

As we’re running on empty for calving season, through spring planting or perhaps the end-of-school, all-activities rush, sometimes there just isn’t enough energy and attention left to consider swelling new buds. If you’re in a hard season, it’s hard to feel the excitement in those new beginnings.

To regain perspective, I just need a little time digging in the dirt with my kids to see what they see. To them, a freshly tilled garden is a blank canvas. They see possibilities and potential, often with harvest goals in mind.

They are all-in and committed to the task and joy of growing.

Many moms report their grocery bill gets bigger the more kids they have along for shopping. I am fairly experienced in saying “no” and “not today,” but get me in a greenhouse with my littles and I’m a sucker for their sweet requests.

“Can we get it?”

My daughter picks out a new variety or a plant I’ve never heard of, and after a quick read of the tag I just have to have it, too. Sure, we may not need a Pineapple Sage, but it did sound interesting.

We’ve recently hatched baby chicks, planted seeds and transplanted perennials. Anything to keep cultivating a culture of growth.

Do you remember the very first time you raised something? Maybe it was a tomato plant that bore fruit under your watchful care, or that bottle calf that called for you each time you mixed the milk replacer. What about the first time you sent your own set of calves to market on the truck, the ones that carried your brand, the product of your labor more than that of anyone else?

There’s just something about that feeling of satisfaction, a job well done. That’s hard to match.

Angus calf in Montana

Even though you probably don’t spend much time thinking about it, agriculture is one of those callings that requires an innate ability to nurture. Your career is literally built on growing things, and it’s not something you sit around and romanticize over. You just do it. You plant, breed, keep alive, help along and make flourish.

But it’s not just a need that cattle and crops have—it’s in you, too, beyond the biology. What are you caring for, helping along, making flourish in your own skill set? In your business?

Sometimes growth requires a leap of faith or a major change. It could mean adding an enterprise or letting one go that’s getting in the way of everything else. It could mean hiring an employee or taking on something you used to hire out. Other times it’s a subtle decision, as simple as going to a seminar, making a phone call or researching some helpful technology. 

Building lives and business can be hard and scary or light and easy, but in my experience it’s always worthwhile.

I don’t remember the year my favorite flower changed from a phlox to a daisy, but I’ve transplanted both to every garden I’ve had since leaving home. Every summer they bloom here as a fragrant reminder that the need to grow is both instinct and inherited legacy. Great-grandma Lucy grew a love of the land in my Grandma Phyllis, who did that for my mom, who did that for me.

But I don’t think I’m unique. We humans possess an intrinsic desire to grow and the growing season is upon us.

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