You’re not perfect, and neither are we. Have some grace in 2023.
You’re not perfect, and neither are we.
Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has a different way of being. What’s important is that we continue to learn and grow. And, even more important is how we choose to learn and grow.
As we set intentions for the New Year, the farm team is thinking about having grace, which ultimately means giving grace. To each other, to our customers, to the farmers and businesses we partner with, to our pastures and the biodiversity upon it. We are always striving for something better.
An important tenet of Amish culture is having grace.
With justice, man gets what he deserves. With mercy, man does not get what he deserves. But, with grace, man gets what he does not deserve. It’s about showing kindness, even when someone may not deserve it.
Jesus [on the cross] said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” – Luke 23:34
The Amish culture follows the teachings of Jesus, who taught his followers to forgive one another and to place the needs of others before themselves. The Amish believe that God is in control and can bring good out of any situation. They strive to live with love and compassion. Vengeance and revenge is left to God.
This theme is not strictly Amish. It holds true in many religions and philosophies.
Interested in joining our grace-giving 2023 initiative? Here are 8 ways to extend grace to others:
1. Forgive and Don’t Hold Grudges.
Holding grudges does not punish the other person. It actually only hurts yourself via the physical and emotional stress you’re placing upon yourself. The opposite of holding a grudge is to forgive, graciously and without correction.
2. Ask for Forgiveness.
If you do something wrong, own up. Be quick to apologize when you make a mistake or have wronged someone else. In my opinion, a good apology includes 3 things: (1) Say what you did to hurt the other person; (2) Acknowledge how you made them feel; and (3) Tell them how you will try to do it differently next time.
3. Offer Hospitality.
It doesn’t need to be complicated and entail having a theme and preparing a 7-course dinner and planning games and all that hoopla. It simply means sharing your home with neighbors. It can be as simple as inviting a friend or family member over for a cup of tea or neighbors over to enjoy an outdoor fire.
It’s ok if they decline, but if they say yes, it’s an amazing opportunity to get to know someone better and find more ways of being gracious with them.
(PS: No one really cares how clean your house is. They don’t inspect the baseboards for dust or check to make sure the garbage can is clean. Their presence in your home is what matters most.)
4. Use Graceful Words.
Be kind and gentle in what you say and how you say it. Depending on the situation, this is easier said than done. A good way to start is to take a breath in the moment. This helps you think before you speak.
5. Take an Interest in Others.
Showing someone that they’re loved sometimes means just being there. Be happy with the person who’s happy, and be sad with the person who’s sad.
Listening can sometimes be a challenge, as people often like to give their own opinions. Gracious listening means to accept the info coming your way. It’s about learning how to draw people out and getting to know them better.
6. Help Prior to Being Asked.
This can be done in simple everyday kindnesses and actions like opening a door for someone or letting someone have that perfect parking spot. Or, it can be more complex, especially when you know someone well. For example, my neighbors down the street are elderly. So, when it snows, we always offer to help them shovel.
7. Show Gratitude.
Say thank you often and let people know how much you appreciate them. A quick thank you card or note goes a long way!
8. Let it Go.
Listen, sometimes people are going to be rude. No matter what. Instead of responding harshly, keep a calm spirit. Respond with grace.
The customer service team practices this often. We understand that people might be stressed (for reasons other than our food or service), and we want to lighten the load (and maybe even uplift their spirits) as much as we can.
Thinking about giving grace brings back a personal farm memory for me. It was the time when my 4yo wanted a heap of cheese.
One of the first times I visited the farm, my family had dinner with the farmer’s family. As we sat at the table, my 4yo had an embarrassing and loud meltdown over cheese. He had one slice on his plate but wanted more. I told him that he could have as much as he’d like, but he needs to eat one slice at a time so we don’t waste it. Well, that wasn’t good enough, the meltdown persisted.
The farmer’s wife Rebecca responded with such grace. She went to him and sliced another piece of cheese and asked if it was enough. Then another. Then another and another. He calmed down around the tenth slice (and the rest of us, too).
Did he eat all of the cheese? Nope. Was cheese wasted? Probably. But, I’d like to think that we all learned something about giving grace that day. From offering hospitality to using kind words to offering help without being asked to letting it go, it was an incredible display of grace.
How do you practice grace in your life? Do you have a stand-out memory of giving grace? Is adding more grace something you’d like to pursue in 2023?
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