By Justin Walker

Good help is hard to come by these days. Maybe it’s because a strong work ethic isn’t taught as much. Maybe it’s because we’re looking in the wrong places.

But one thing’s for sure…good hands are raised on Texas farms and ranches.

Kids learn how to find success in life by diving into jobs and projects, such as building fences, herding cattle and cleaning stalls.

Agriculture’s classroom teaches skills beyond the books. And they’re life lessons that can be applied on and off the farm—like in an office, a church or community organization.

Those lessons learned growing up on a farm include…

  1. Do your best. Failure, while not desired, is okay. Mistakes happen. But not trying your best won’t get you where you want to go. Success requires hard work, and you reap what you sow.
  2. Show respect. When you work for someone, odds are they were in your shoes at one time or another. They have experience and valuable knowledge on the task at hand. That deserves respect. Stop. Listen. Learn. And if a better way exists, approach it in a proper manner.
  3. Take initiative. Step up and help out. Offer new ideas or pitch in when an extra hand is needed. If you know something needs to be finished, do it. And if you don’t know what needs to be done, ask.
  4. Work independently or as a team. Some jobs you’ll work by yourself. Others will be a team effort. Either way, don’t make excuses. A job is a job, and it needs to be done.
  5. Be flexible. Work isn’t always 8a.m.-5 p.m., especially on the farm. You have to be willing to work odd hours and improvise throughout the day.
  6. Be a good neighbor. Lend a helping hand. Drive the tractor. Run some errands. Or help work cattle. Being a good neighbor doesn’t cost you.

Seems simple, right? I agree. But sometimes it’s the simple things that we forget.

And the life lessons learned on the farm extend far beyond the fence. School. Sports. Careers. Every stop in life is an opportunity to be of service to your fellow man.