One of the commonly agreed upon “best” ads during the 2013 Super Bowl was the “So God Made a Farmer” commercial by Dodge Ram. It was the longest commercial (2 min.) and subsequently the most expensive since a 30-second spot was going upward of $4 million this year. The ad was a masterful blend of nostalgia and feel-good country heroism narrated by radio legend Paul Harvey. If you missed it or want to see it again, you can watch it right here.
The “Farmer” commercial brought out the farmer in me. I realized in a renewed way that so much of who I am is clearly shaped by my background and upbringing. Of course, that is true of all of us. I was raised on an Oregon grass seed farm. We raised mostly lawn and golf course seeds during the peak of my involvement. My dad had a dairy until I was six and then we had at least one cow to milk until I went to high school. So, I have a pretty good feel for many of the common aspects of farming: crops, animals, driving and repairing equipment, seeding and harvest.
As I reflected on what the commercial triggered in me about my own experience growing up in a multi-generational farm family (my grandparents on both sides were also farmers), allow me to share some things I’ve learned from my farmer parents and about the farmer in me. The farmer in me has helped me succeed as a pastor–especially the last quarter of a century starting and growing a thriving church.
Discipline – I was taught how to work hard and to work long hours if needed. If you needed to get up early or stay up late, you did what ever was needed to get things done.
Selfless – My dad and mom showed me how to attend to the needs of others (animals, neighbors, etc.) above my own needs.
Competent – My dad knew his trade well. He was one of the very best farmers in the community. He even won a state-wide “Wheat Farmer of the Year” award. He could repair equipment. He designed and built farm implements and truck beds. He taught me to do everything with excellence.
Compassion – I learned to be attuned to my surroundings. To care for the land and to be compassionate toward birds, wildlife, and farm animals was the norm.
Character – I learned to keep my eye on the goal (usually a tree or a fence post) at the other end of the field so I could plow straight. I was taught to never cut corners. My parents taught me that the harder right way was always better than the easier wrong way.
The commercial concludes with, “To the farmer in all of us.” The ad not only made us think but it also made us feel. And in the end process of something as trivial as a Super Bowl commercial, it reminded us of important characteristics we should all desire to imitate. Regardless of your roots, may each of us live a little more like a farmer today.
QUESTION: What was your favorite Super Bowl commercial? Share it below.