Sometimes we all take life or ourselves just a little too seriously.
Our youngest is employed at a local private college. When the students move back to campus in this southern Michigan community, the streets are filled with high-end automobiles and the sidewalks are lined with smartly-dressed students who probably just got back from spending the summer on their parents’ yacht or at the country club.
The president and the board of directors of this college are well known in conservative social circles and, for good or ill, are well-connected in Washington, D.C. Their names are recognizable and their quest to educate the next generation with a classical approach is deeply ingrained in their emphasis on the U.S. Constitution.
And then there’s Jake.
He was hired for the summer on their grounds crew and has enjoyed working around the campus and especially on the athletic complex. A few weeks ago, everyone, including the grounds crew, was invited to the Freshman Convocation where the newbies were welcomed to campus by the president and his staff.
Knowing that Jake is sort of a loose cannon, his boss gave him explicit instructions not to embarrass them at breakfast. And Jake assured him he would be on his best behavior.
As he was inhaling his full catered breakfast, the college president and vice president, who were nearby, said to Jake, “You know you can breathe every once in a while.”
Jake looked up and joked, “I’ve got grass to mow; I’ve got to get back to work!”
As he finished his pancakes, the syrup drip on his cheek caught the attention of the president, and he said, “Would you like me to wipe that off?” To which Jake leaned in and replied, “If you wouldn’t mind.”
I cringed at the thought of my kid having his face wiped in public by a college president. As the mom of four kids, I’ve had my share of embarrassing public moments. But then I remember we are all human and, as my mom says, we all put our pants on one leg at a time.
Our days are too short to worry about the small things that just don’t matter in life. Jake will likely never hold a degree from that college filled with bluebloods, but he and the president have shared a lighthearted moment that brought out the humility between two human beings.
In a world where we find ourselves connected by technology, with our faces constantly buried in our phones, that human connection between earthly sojourners brings substance and meaning to our lives.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Farm World. Readers with questions or comments for Melissa Hart may write to her in care of this publication.