Friday, February 14, 2014

Love more, criticize less

I don't normally do commentaries here. I much prefer using this space to tell stories. But this has been troubling my heart for quite some time. And since it's Valentine's Day and we're all thinking about love, it seems like the perfect time to share.

Somehow, it seems, at least to me, that we have become a society focused on criticizing one another.

crit•i•cize (v.) – to indicate the faults of                     
      (someone or something) in a disapproving way

Every day, some person, some organization is criticizing some other person or organization for the foods they choose to eat or the way they raise their children or the way they clean their house or... The list is endless.

Those of us who farm face criticism in every direction we turn. Lots of people who aren't farming – and even some of our fellow farmers – seem to disapprove of the way we take care of our animals or grow our crops. What hurts most about these criticisms is that caring for animals and growing crops aren't just what we do, it's who we are – and 99.9% of us are doing the best we possibly can. So when someone criticizes our farming methods, they're criticizing us personally.

Why is this so? Is criticizing others the vogue way of putting others down to make ourselves feel better? Does criticizing others help us justify our own decisions?

Maybe we should all practice what we preach to our children: "Worry about yourself."

I tell my kids that almost daily when they fall into the trap of being more concerned about what someone else is doing and less concerned about their own behavior.

If you want to raise your children this way, but I choose to raise my children that way, let's just agree to disagree and refrain from criticizing each other's choices.

If you choose to eat only those foods raised or grown a certain way, that's great; that's why there are so many unique farmers using different farming methods. Enjoy your food choices, but please refrain from criticizing those farmers who grow and raise food another way.

love (v.) – to feel a deep attachment to (someone)

Let's make 2♡14 the year we start to love more and criticize less. The year we practice kindness and respect. The year we use social media to connect instead of dissect.

Thanks for listening. I'll go back to telling stories now.

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