Lessons from the kitchen table

Lessons from the kitchen table

Jul 1
Ellen Reeder, Senior in ACES

I grew up in a family where jackets are blue, trucks are red, and tractors are green. Agriculture is our livelihood, hard work builds character, and supporting each other creates success.

I guess you could say that I learned everything I need to know at the kitchen table. I learned that things work better when they’re passed down, that you’d better clean your plate, and that trying new things is a good idea.

When I think back to my time as an FFA member, my days growing up on a family farm, and those lessons I learned at the kitchen table; I am eternally grateful. It’s these lessons and reminders that have helped me to create career success as a college student. I’m now six weeks into my second internship with John Deere. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned since last summer, but it’s those three lessons I learned at my family’s kitchen table that remind me of what’s important.

Lesson One: Things work better when they’re passed down.
Passing things down doesn’t always mean you’re getting a ‘hand-me-down.’ To me, passing things down means taking advice from others, learning by observing, and not being afraid to ask questions or seek help. I’ve learned that there are an endless amount of people surrounding me who are more than willing to lend advice, answer my questions, or help me in any way they can.

Lesson Two: You’d better clean your plate.
To me, this means that a job well done is done right the first time. However, sometimes it’s okay to let someone help you clean your plate because teamwork can create a more favorable atmosphere. During my internship, I’ve learned that seeing things through, collaborating, and doing the job right is important.

Lesson Three: Trying new things is a good idea.  
If you don’t take advantage of a new opportunity, someone else will. Being scared to step out of your comfort zone will get you left in the dust. I’ve found that saying yes to new opportunities can take you where you never expected to go, but that’s a good thing.

As the rest of the summer unfolds, I look forward to opportunities to learn, grow, and explore career paths. So far, I’ve tackled a few items on my intern bucket list and I can’t wait to see the rest through.


Ellen Reeder at John Deere Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Des Moines Works. I can accredit this experience to lesson number three.