A weekly blog for all things conservation
By: Nathan Dewing, Agricultural Team Leader
January and new patterns of growth go well together. Our understanding of stewardship, or lack thereof will set us up for 2021 growth or shrinkage (and don’t believe you are too old to grow).
A Steward is “a person whose job is to manage the property of another person”, as defined by Webster. Stewardship is defined as “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.” Take stock of what you are stewarding and give yourself an evaluation. I suggest writing them down, perhaps in order of importance. Give yourself a grade – A, B, C, D; rate yourself 1 -10, or better yet, ask the one you are working for (the owner) how you’re doing. Before you let yourself off the hook too quickly, consider what it is that you really own. Here’s a hint, I believe – it’s what I brought with me when I was born and what I will take with me when I die.
In illustrating stewardship, a stirring scene from J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings tale – Return of the King comes to mind. Gandalf and Pippen ride to counsel with Denethor, the temporary, though long-standing steward of a kingdom called Gondor. The fearful and weak-hearted Denethor, giving them a cold reception says “I know who rides with Theoden of Rohan…” (It’s the true king) “I will not bow…” The scene reaches a crescendo when Gandalf declares “Authority is not given to you to deny the return of the King, Steward!”
We all may be guilty of losing perspective as Steward Denethor did, but we don’t have to stay there. We all likely at times find ourselves slack in stewardship. So, how about sharpening it up this year?! Consider possible improvements. None can do many of these at once, but we could each pick two to focus on.
Relationships are perhaps the most important commodity we steward. Is there a relationship that needs to become a priority this year? What could be the result of re-directing resources you would put into destroying a relationship and instead invest them in repair?
Time. In our culture we generally have too much leisure time. This doesn’t mean we should do more; Do better is more like it. Try to identify time wasting activities. List the books you will read this year. Decide on something new you will learn. Set some goals and ask a friend to keep you accountable. Learn to discern between urgent and important. Ask, “Am I progressing in being who I was created to be?”
Health. Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” What preventative steps are you taking to steward your health? The past is just that, so simply consider something you can do today. Ah, refreshing!
Finances. Mr. Franklin also said in reference to finances “A small leak can sink a big ship.” Is there any undisciplined or “out-of-sight” spending slowly sinking you? Are you saving, giving, or investing more this year than you did last?
Possessions. Is each thing I have serving me well or do I feel more like I am surrounded by a lot of stuff? There may be someone else who would be served better by some of these things. What could be the benefits of living in simplified, less cluttered spaces?
When we think about natural resources stewardship, we might think of land or property. Am I improving this property or simply mining it? I could add value to or increase the production capability of this property while I am steward.
Water. Am I doing anything on purpose to make my closest stream or water well cleaner? Do I ever think about the welfare of my downstream neighbors?
Energy. Along with considering what gets your personal energy, think about your use of energy resources. Take a fresh inventory of your electricity and fuel usage. Are there opportunities to gain efficiency by using less or using smarter?
Whatever one or two you pick; you can grow this year! Become hopeful about it. And always know that even when the owner seems delayed, he will return!
The Bradford County Conservation District is committed to helping people manage resources wisely. You can visit the Bradford County Conservation District at 200 Lake Rd in Wysox across from the Wysox Fire Hall. Contact us at (570) 485-3144 or visit our web page at www.bccdpa.com.
Various staff at the Bradford County Conservation District