As young parents, we are trying our best to manage ranch life, school, kids sports, meetings and the extra wrenches that get thrown into life's plans and I realize that the lessons and values we try to give our kids may get muddled into looking like never ending tasks and responsibilities. But if I was to write a list of the why’s, I think this is what I would say:

  1. The Early Bird Gets the Worm
    There is magic in watching the world wake up with the sunrise. Early mornings are hard, and we don't always rise as easy as Dad does. Do it anyway, those experiences are well worth sleepy eyes and frosty fingers.

  2. Your Pets are More Than Just Your Buddies
    Your dogs, cats, bunnies, calves, and ponies are more than just pets. They create lessons in responsibility, empathy, loving and learning to let go.

  3. You get Chores Because we Love you
    Chores seem endless and dull, but they are the building blocks for your future. Accountability and basic life skills begin with feeding the animals, sweeping the floors, and doing some yard work. We love you and want you to find success in life. Success begins with accountability and preparation, so we give you chores.

  4. Be Open to Learning
    On the ranch and in life in town, you won't always know it all. Never assume that you do. Be humble and open toward learning because it will lead you to new and exciting skills and experiences.

  5. Conservatorship
    As ranchers we chose to be responsible for our land, rangeland, and livestock – this lifestyle defines who we are. Sometimes that means friends’ birthday parties get trumped by pasture changes and dinner time is pushed back by an emergency calf pull. It won’t always make sense to you now, but our hope is that you’ll approach this world with a sense of doing what’s right and having a positive connection to setting priorities.

  6. Always do Your Best
    You might find that there are days when your best isn’t better than others, recognize that. Don’t beat yourself up over mistakes. Learn from them and move forward.

  7. Fear Doesn't Guide us
    As your parents, we want you to not let fear or disappointment stand in the way of new experiences. Missed opportunities in life turn into regret, life’s too short for any of that. Pain and disappointment are a part of living. It’s ok to keep moving forward, when you’re ready.

  8. Sometimes the Hardest Choices are the Right Ones
    The best decisions are sometimes the hardest to make, especially when it comes to animals. We can’t make animals understand pain and suffering – know when to let them go.

  9. Unplug
    Leave the computer screen, tv, and all phones behind. Watch the birds and read a good book or write in that journal that is still hanging around empty. Be present with those around you.

  10. It's OK if This Isn’t the Lifestyle for you, but Keep the Values
    There is an endless world of possibilities out there for you to explore outside of this home paradise. We want you to follow your dreams and make your own path, even if the ranch is or isn’t your endgame. Just be sure to carry the values of which you’ve learned with you, and know you are loved.

Heather Taylor and her husband, Mike, serve on the State Young Farmer & Rancher (YF&R) Committee, representing District 5 (Carbon, Daggett*, Duchesne, Emery, Grand*, San Juan and Uintah Counties). 

*Daggett & Grand Counties do not have organized County Farm Bureaus. Farmers in those counties participate in meetings and activities with Uintah & San Juan County Farm Bureaus, respectively.