How to instruct like a dad

New to being a dad, giving instructions or farm terms? Gotcha covered because I have the best examples from my farmer dad. And by the way, these make me laugh – I’m not even mad about it.

Tell me to do something by telling me what you would do
For example, “I would wait until 7 a.m. to feed the animals.” Well, since he’s so smart, I’ll do the same!
Give a command by asking a question
This sounds like, “Do you want to throw down ten bales?” Why, thanks for asking! Apparently I do want to, and I will get right on it.
Gesture in the general area of what you’re talking about
Like, “Bring me that gate over there,” and wave your arm toward an area with 15 different types of gates
And be vague about your end-point goal
…continued scenario from above. Where exactly do you intend for me to bring the gate? Because taking off 100 yards from the location of where you actually want to use the gate may be the most frustrating…and tiring…thing ever. Please don’t make me follow you around with a bulky gate.
In fact, use vague terms all the time
We all have different experiences in life. With this experience, we may end up using words differently. My favorite is, “Can you give me some directions?” And I end up with a list of north, south, east, west…instead of a detailed list of how-to’s.
Give me your whole task list for 6 months as if you want to achieve it all today…or this morning
Or, can we please just talk about your priorities?

When all else fails, just assume I will and can read your mind.
Love you, Dad!

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About Elaine Bristol

I studied communications in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University. I have a passion for serving others and am involved in a number of non-profit organizations as an employee and a volunteer including 4-H, Farm Bureau and FFA. As a farmer, I care for my animals and the environment. I am an organized individual with an optimistic outlook - willing to take on any task with devotion.

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