I am sure many of you are familiar with the story of Chicken Little. It’s a traditional folk tale – basically the chicken gets bopped on the head with an acorn and automatically assumes the worst. In this instance it is that “The sky is falling” and he gets his friends who are a hen, a turkey, and a duck (depending on which version you read) all hysterical and scared and they then fall for the fox and his solution which is to hide in his den. Obviously, this turns out well for the fox who enjoys a nice poultry dinner, but not so well for the assorted fowl.
Every time I turn on the news, or open the paper I feel like the headlines are screaming “The sky is falling”. Now, to be completely fair there IS quite a bit of bad in the world. Sickness, worries for the future, economic concerns…the list could and does go on for days, weeks, years even.
But, like in the Chicken Little story where the fox reaped the benefits of the mass hysteria – all I know is like the dramatic chicken I always lose when I get caught up in the drama.
A phrase I repeat to one of my kids (probably a minimum of 20 times a day) is “Worry about your own self.” In our family this means to evaluate your own conduct and get it up to par before worrying about how someone else is acting. Another way of looking at it, is like the good book says “Get the log out of your own eye before worrying about the speck in your brothers’ eye”. (My paraphrase)
In my little corner of the world, I can do very little to change the course of the world, or the US or even Tennessee. But what I CAN do is make an impact where I am. For me, that starts with recognizing things I am thankful for. My family has food, shelter and a farm for the kids to grow up on. Yes, my husband works long hard hours and sometimes gets nighttime calls that a cow is out …but he does know that tomorrow he will have work to accomplish and people to feed which I feel is his life’s calling. While I am definitely not high fashion (hello hoodies and jeans, and usually mismatched socks) I have clothes to wear. My family has warm coats in the winter and mud boots for the spring. My girls are learning responsibility by raising bottle calves, they are learning planning skills by helping my husband sample fields and make fertilizer decisions based on which crop will be where.
I have SO much to be thankful for, and coming from a place of gratitude it is easier to be nice to those I do come in contact with. I can be more patient with my kids. I can be encouraging to my husband. I can extend a kind word to a stranger in the grocery store or share a baked good with a neighbor. None of these things are hard, world changing things in and of themselves.
I am not in a position to change politics. I am not famous, nor do I have any great talents. But things don’t have to be big to be valuable. I can compliment a stranger (even though it embarrasses my kids when I do). I can take back someone’s shopping cart. I can encourage my farmer husband, and might just be the person who makes him laugh and let the stress out for the day. None of those things are big. But I do think they make a difference in the lives of people I care about and that makes them worth doing.