April 20 2022 08:00 AM

Asking questions connects us better than making assumptions.

The title of this blog is a quote by Walt Whitman. But if I’m being completely honest, I heard it first from Ted Lasso. If you haven’t watched Ted Lasso yet, you should. Or at the very least, YouTube search “Ted Lasso dart scene.” You don’t need to know the premise of the show to feel the impact of that scene. I probably watched it one hundred times and still couldn’t quite sort out what those words meant to me. Has that ever happened to you? You hear a quote or read something that truly resonates with you, but you just can’t place it yet. It sits in the back of your mind until one day, you hope, it will finally make sense.

Watching it, yet again, the other night at 2 a.m. while I couldn’t sleep on account of all the coughing (#AsthmaticDairyFarmerProblems), it finally hit me. It’s so simple. You guys, be CURIOUS, NOT judgmental.

If we asked questions instead of condemning people based on our initial judgments, the world would be kinder place. Instead of spreading the rumors and gossip, if we asked questions and went directly to the source, the world would be a kinder place. If we were curious more often than we were judgmental, the world would be kinder place. Now, we are human. We can’t stop ourselves from judging; it’s in our DNA. But what we do with those judgments is what separates the curious from the judgmental.

It's what we ask of consumers, isn’t it? We tell them to #AskFarmersNotGoogle, but then we secretly make fun of them when they ask silly questions. We think them ignorant and are appalled they think their food originates from the grocery store or that brown cows give chocolate milk when it’s our fault that those questions even exist. Their ignorance is our fault, our failings. We’ve done such a poor job of promoting our business that those questions must be sincerely asked and answered.

A few weeks ago, my brother and his wife adopted a four-year-old girl who I love more than I ever believed possible. And she has all the questions. When do we lose that? When do we start making assumptions and stop asking questions? Is it because we think our questions are dumb? Because honestly, most of the time, I find that someone else had the same question that they were too afraid to ask.

Be curious, not judgmental. What a concept.

Jessica Peters

The author dairies in partnership with her parents and brother at Spruce Row Farm in Pennsylvania. Jessica is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, and since 2015, she has been active in promoting dairy in her local community. You can find her and her 250 Jersey cows on Facebook at Spruce Row Dairy or on Instagram at @seejessfarm.