Time to make your Christmas list


Annette, my seventh grader, wrote her Christmas list last night. Topping her list is a computer and a TV in her room. Then we get to more realistic wishes, such as gift certificates from just about every story imaginable, even Wal-Mart.

Not to be outdone, 10-year-old Jon pondered his own wish list. I knew what would be at the top of his paper – a four-wheeler – and it was, but he wrote down “a laptop,” too, nudged, no doubt, by Big Sister’s computer dream. His list also included a vague “some sort of toy.”

Well, I can tell you there will be no ATV under our tree this year. No personal telephones (or “my own phone line” as desired by Annette) nor TVs for their bedrooms. Gift certificates, on the other hand, are do-able, but I’m not sure where to find “some sort of toy” if the gift recipient doesn’t even have a clue what he wants.

Wish lists like this make you really think about what you want, what you need, and what you’re likely to get. And that’s not a bad exercise for your farm, either. It helps you identify your goals, your dreams and your focus.

If money were no object, what would you like to buy for your farm? Go ahead, dream. And then, jot down what’s needed, what’s do-able. Maybe some of those dreams are accessible.

Be specific. If you wrote “some sort of toy,” how do you know what to shoot for?

There are always things we want to do or to have. Goal setting is choosing something to work for. Ultimately, we have to decide what is important to do or to have.

As parents, Keith and I have decided that a four-wheeler is not important (nor safe) for our family right now. Is it something Jon should take off his list? Not necessarily. At age 10, he can keep it as a goal and start saving his money to buy a four-wheeler when he’s 15 or 16 (or 115 or 116, if I had my way).

A road map won’t help if you don’t know where you want to get to. Likewise, if you’re too busy with feeding or planting or chopping or transplanting to decide what you want your farm operation to become, how do you allocate your resources?

Of course, writing that list includes other family members involved in the farm operation – to make sure you’re all on the same page.

Writing your Christmas list – setting your goals – is choosing something to work for. And that purpose gives you something positive to focus on even when things aren’t going your way and times are tough.

(Editor Susan Crowell can be reached at 1-800-837-3419 or at editorial@farmanddairy.com.)


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