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The Richest People in the World



I recently had a conversation with my son about money vs. happiness. He’s just finishing his Senior Year of high school and will be off to college in 3 months. Last summer he worked for a concrete construction company and made really great bank. A high wage, plus 60 – 70 hour weeks with overtime pay brought in a lot of money for a high school kid. But, he wasn’t sure he wanted to do that again. Most nights he got back home between 8:00 – 9:00pm and didn’t have any time to hang out with his family or friends. And, he had to be up early the next day to do it all over again. This summer he had another job offer that paid a little less and only offered 40 hrs/week. So he did the math…..$3,000 difference. After thinking it through, he chose the job that paid less, but gave him more time to spend with his friends. It’s probably his last chance to do that as they will all move on after high school. I’m really proud of him! He thought the process through and made the decision that brought him the most happiness.


My grandfather worked as a chimney sweep in Holland in the early 1900’s. He literally crawled up and down the inside of chimneys and cleaned them. It was a hard, dirty, low paying job. An uncle living in the US offered to sponsor his immigration. He arrived at Ellis Island essentially without a penny to his name. He worked hard, paid off his uncle in 7 years and went on to buy a farm with hogs, chickens and dairy cows. When he died, he sold the 160 acre farm off to one of his sons to continue it. He always told my father, “No matter what else you do in life, pray for contentment. If you are content, you are the richest man in the world”! My Dad wanted nothing more in life than to be a farmer. When he got back from Korea he worked as a hired hand for a few years and then built his own successful farm. He was indeed a happy farmer and has told me more than once that he lived his dream.


This time of year often makes me pause and think. I see the farmers out in the field until late at night. Many of them also care for livestock. It is a long hour, hard work, high stress job. If it’s not what makes you happy, please, listen to your heart and go find something that does. But, if your dream is to be a farmer, live it and love it! Don’t listen to those that tell you that you could make more money doing something else. If farming makes you happy, embrace it and be the best farmer you can be.


To the young people thinking about starting a farm……don’t listen to the nay-sayers. You CAN start farming, even in today’s business environment. You don’t need to look to others to tell you what makes you happy! If you are happy milking 20 cows, enjoy it to the fullest. If you have the opportunity to milk 20,000 cows and you love it, do it proudly. When you reach the end of you journey, you don’t want to look back and ask yourself if you did what others expected of you. Instead, live your life so you can look back with contentment knowing that you enjoyed every minute that God gave you, and if given the chance you’d do it all over the same way again.


Happy Living!


Insights from Dr. Kevin Hoogendoorn, DVM, Creator and Owner of the ZISK dairy app. 5/10/22


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