Monday, April 11, 2016

Connecting matters, encouragement matters [Dairy Star Column]

When I first agreed to serve in a leadership role for Dairy Girl Network, I don’t think I fully understood the impact this role would have on my life.

In its infancy, Dairy Girl Network was a way to help women in dairy get together for conversation and camaraderie. In the few short years since, Dairy Girl Network has become so much more. This is evident in our mission: The Dairy Girl Network supports all women in dairy by enhancing lives and creating opportunity.

My friend Sarah and I set out to create an opportunity for the dairywomen in our area. The result was a luncheon with two great speakers and lots of time for conversation. At the end of the event, we asked each woman there to share one thing they would remember from the presentations. This is I’ve been reflecting on since the event:

Our first speaker, Paula, shared a lot of wisdom about stress management. One piece of advice she shared about coping with stress was the importance of connecting with other people. I found myself wondering, is this why Dairy Girl Network has grown so quickly? Are we deficient in connecting time? I think the answer is yes. Our lives are out of balance and that balance it tipped heavily towards taking care of everything else but ourselves.

Paula went on to share that connecting time is one of seven essential activities we need for optimal brain health. This concept of essential activities is part of The Healthy Mind Platter.

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Our second speaker, Sherry, shared a number of great messages, but the one that resonated with me was: Encouragement matters.

“Instruction does much, but encouragement everything.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

As I interpreted it, we need to support our fellow women but also remember how important it is to provide encouragement for spouses, children, and friends, regardless of gender. We also need to recognize and appreciate those who have encouraged us. This idea was reinforced later that evening.

After the Dairy Girl Network event on Friday, we went to Dan’s first swim meet. Our whole family went, which meant asking our relief milker to come so we could be there for the 6:30 p.m. start.

I knew Dan needed our support at the meet. In the weeks leading up to Friday, Dan had asked multiple times, “Are you going to be there? Is Dad going to be there?”

[Read the rest of Connecting matters, encouragement matters here.]

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