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What matters most

Still trying to get my bearings after eating more than I probably should have at the family Thanksgiving feast, and the traditional Christmas shopping season has begun. Venturing into a retail gauntlet to shop for more stuff is the last thing on my mind. Instead, as the weeks seem to get shorter between now and Christmas, I’m trying to focus on those things that matter most.

Of those, traditions are high on my list. They are a big part of our family’s Christmas celebration, from religious observances, to hanging the right ornaments, to visits to relatives’ homes. They all have a commonality, one of bringing our family together to enjoy more than the presents, to make memories that will last long after those presents are worn out, outgrown or forgotten.

One tradition all of my children agree must be honored is the Advent calendar. When our college students come through the door during the holidays, they make a beeline for the pocket-filled Christmas mainstay. If it weren’t there, there might be riots. Forget the fact they no longer live at home most of the year; if their daily piece of candy is found missing, someone is in trouble. If that one small tradition brings them home, so be it. I’ll keep filling the pockets.

It’s those kinds of traditions that mean the most. They are the ones that bring our family together.

At Missouri Farm Bureau, it’s no different. Indeed for MFB, this week marks the 101st time the Farm Bureau family will come together at the MFB Annual Meeting. That’s 101 times we’ve shared food and friendships, 101 times we’ve celebrated accomplishments past and 101 times we’ve met to plan for the year ahead.

I am looking forward to seeing faces I’ve haven’t seen for many months, looking forward to good food and looking forward celebrating the many accomplishments in the Farm Bureau family over the last year. Together, we will focus on sharing ideas, discussing issues and the policy-making process that defines our grassroots organization. It’s one of our traditions that matter most.

Rebecca French Smith, of Columbia, is a multimedia specialist for the Missouri Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization.

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