Penticton (Rural Roots Canada) – There was a time when we spent a lot of time living and working together under the same small roof or farming operation. Today, we barely sit down together to have dinner.

Reconnecting with our rural roots is more important than ever, says Dr. Jody Carrington, psychologist and keynote speaker at this year’s Canadian Beef Industry Conference.

Getting back to what we know to be true – connecting and acknowledging each other – is the only way we rise.

“We’re so worried about how we show up in the world that we forget to see other people,” she says.

“By showing up for other people, you might not only change a life, but you could also save one.”

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Dr. Carrington believes that we’re disconnected now more than at any time in our history. She says everyone wants to be seen and acknowledged. However, we’ve become a little too introspective and have chosen to be less outward-looking.

“We think that sometimes this problem is too big, that we’re not going to get it right. So, we shut down or stay connected to ourselves.”

Dr. Jody Carrington’s three priorities

Dr. Carrington says we’re wired in the agricultural community to look for all the things that can go wrong. Instead, we should look for joy in simple gestures, such as giving a compliment or giving an enthusiastic, friendly wave.

“You become a mobile mental health unit in your community if you wave like you’re drunk at every stop sign. In our small towns, we do this out of habit, but when you go to a bigger center or city, we stop doing that. The question is ‘why’?”

Dr. Carrington’s inspiration for her work and her desire for connection comes from growing up in a small town. Living in a small community, she says she felt seen. While it was sometimes annoying that everyone knew everything about her, she says it helped her to be the person she is today. It also fueled her work and passion for connection. She wants other people to have that opportunity.

“Do not underestimate your power to look at someone, to give them a wave, and for you and me to do the right thing.”