Life Lessons And The Importance Of Community

This post contains affiliate links. We may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.

This is a sponsored post partnership with State Farm.

whale watching

Growing up I had a lot of people that shaped my future.

My parents and extended family were some of the most influential people in my life… and so was a lady named Erma. She was my lead keeper from my zoo keeper days and taught me many things. The most important of those was that life should be enjoyed to the fullest. She believed in working hard and having fun when the work was over. I didn’t fully understand the impact she had on my life or all the lessons I learned until many years later, but these life lessons she taught me continue to have a huge impact on me as a mother and in my business matters.

harbor whale watching

Last month we went whale watching and as I sat on the (very) rocky boat I had some time to really think about life.

I had one of those moments where I was by myself on one side of the boat and all I could see was open water. I let my mind wander to when I was much younger and on a whale watching trip with my friends. I remember that I had told Erma that I wasn’t coming in that day and instead of being upset that it would cause her more work without me there she was genuinely thrilled for me to be able to experience animals in the wild. She told me how important it was to have fun after all the hard work I had done and not to worry… she had my back and would be happy to do my work for the day.

I may have forgotten the exact words she said, but I’ll never forget the way she made me feel.

family vacations

Flash forward to me on the boat and I realized that her words are still with me today.

In order for us to be able to take this day off and have fun as a family I had to have help. There is just too much for Pete and I to do in each of our businesses to get away like this. We each have someone whose got our back and knowing that we have that support is the difference between having a care free break and taking time away from work, but still worrying about everything that isn’t getting done.

sea lions

Another one of my favorite lessons she taught me was going to the experts when I needed advice.

She used to say something about not asking a monkey how to fly. I thought it was a silly saying then, but now I totally get it. If you need help or advice go to the experts. Don’t waste time and worry asking anyone else. This applies to so many situations in life and I rote it on a sticky note to remember when we got back.

Don’t ask a monkey how to fly.


boat ride

grey wales

During those important late teenage years it felt so good to know that I had someone there to help me.

From living life to the fullest to having a community to support me I know that Erma taught me some of the most important life lessons. Having a State Farm agent as part of your community to help you in making important decisions about protecting one’s family gives so much peace of mind so you can get out there and live your life. We all know that there are plenty of moments where you don’t want to be held back by uncertainty – and the personalized help of an expert enables you to make better decisions.  State Farm agents help you protect what matters most.

What are your favorite life lessons someone taught you?

Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


  • I love that we are part of a real community in the town we live in. We all pitch in to help when needed.

  • The mist important life lesson was “Live and let live” Respect everyone’s right to their own opinion and agree to disagree if you happen to have a different one.

  • I was lucky enough to grow up near extended family and grandmothers that I got to see often. I always felt special that I got to see them all the time. And now that I have my own kids I’m glad that they are getting to grow up near their grandparents. It’s so nice to have people around that you can really depend on.

  • Thanks so much for sharing your post. We live in a small community so it’s nuts that I don’t know who our State Farm agent is. I’ll have to see about changing that. I love living in a small community and being surrounded by friends and family.

  • We should be teaching life lessons as often as we can. You never know who you may impact!

  • Such a great lesson! We live in an amazing community all neighbors pitch in when your in need, it feels like family almost.

  • I had never heard of the don’t ask a monkey how to fly! It is so true how a little thing can bring back memories!

  • I did not grow up close to my grandparents but I had a huge immediate family and I grew up in a small town where there was always a sense of community. I love moments when I have time to sit back and reflect.

  • I think it’s great that you have a strong work ethic paired with a strong “play” ethic too. That’s a rarity…usually people are off-balance and have way too much of one or the other.

  • I love spending time with my family and going out with them to get away from all the electronics and just hang! I am not in a small community, but I have friends that help me think we are!

  • I love the lesson from your mom about not asking monkeys how to fly, ” If you need help or advice go to the experts.” That is so true. How much time we waste asking the wrong people for advice. One lesson I learned from my mom is to never give up. Pray about it and ask for help, but don’t quit without trying.

  • My big sisters taught me so much. One thing that stands out right now is that things don’t get done without hard work.

  • The only thing I can think of is that somewhere along the way I learned to always, always, always follow my gut instincts. I’ve never strayed from that and it has saved me in so many ways.

  • I grew up in a small community where everyone knew one another. Whenever something impacted a family the whole community pitched in. In life hard times happen to everyone at some time or another so it is best to help as you would want to be helped!

  • This looks like a fun and peaceful experience.

    I remember growing up, my grandparents taught me how to help others in need. This is something that I passed on to my own children. I hope they remember it once they are grown and gone.

  • Erma sounds just like my 8th grade teacher who is still a dear friend to me today. She gave me so much advice, and like with Erma, I will never forget how she made me feel. Like someone who mattered in a time where I didn’t feel like my own mother cared at all. She actually saved me from suicide on a couple of occasions.

  • This is totally awesome indeed. I think there is life lesson in everything we do and see. I love your little story and sometimes we don’t understand things our elders say til we get older. Thanks for sharing.

  • When we were in San Francisco last week, I tried to convince my husband to go whale watching, but he didn’t want to. So, we ended up on the audio tour for Alcatraz, which was fascinating. We had a lot of fun.

  • Having someone by your side who understands what it takes to build community is very special. As we age, they become even more valuable advisers.

  • One of the biggest and hardest lessons I have learned from someone was that I should depend on myself and noone else.

Comments are closed.