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I’ll admit it, I only watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. Usually, my favorite is one of the funny commercials but, this year, I have to give the prize to “God Made a Farmer.” Yes, the woman who never gets sappy over television, books, or movies, got sappy over a commercial for a truck. The ad featured images of farmers, hard work, and family time while Paul Harvey’s voice spoke aloud the reasons why “God Made a Farmer.” As it happens, those values are essentially American, and the values which made us strong.
America was built on family. Harvey gives the example of a farmer who works long hours taking care of the land and livestock and then, after that long day, would “stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board” to do what was best for their children. America was born on the strength of the family, an on those “who'd bale a family together with the soft, strong bonds of sharing.” The commercial shows an image of a family praying together around the dinner table, echoing the recurring word “God” in the ad. Why? Because faith is also an American value- faith in a higher being, faith in each other, and faith in ourselves. After all, isn’t that what independence is all about?
Resilience is another American trait illustrated. Harvey speaks of farmers who are willing to spend their nights sitting with a newborn colt, only to have that colt die and still be willing to do it again the next year. Give it your best, then try it again. There’s time to, as Harvey says, “dry (one’s) eyes,” because we are a feeling people, but we do not wallow in defeat.
It is ingrained within Americans to make do with what we have, which is how this nation has survived through hardships many times before. God created a farmer, because he needed someone who could “Shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who could make harness out of hay wire, feed sacks, and shoe scraps.” That’s American ingenuity, the ability to do what needs to be done with what we have, and create solutions in the process.
Through a mixture of gentleness, strength and compassion, America has stayed the course. We are a land of people "strong enough to clear trees and heave bales, yet gentle enough to wean lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-comb pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the leg of a meadowlark." Do you know Americans like this? I do.
These values of faith, family, resilience, ingenuity, and the right mixture of gentleness, strength, and compassion might be personified in the farmer, but they’re the values that made America strong. I got to wondering if children of future generations, or even children today, will recognize this America when they become adults. As Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,” and we carry that responsibility. We must not let these values go by the wayside on our watch. What have you done today to keep these values alive in America?