Are you having a bad day? We all do. Are you one of the few farmers who won't have a good corn crop this year? You won't be the only one. Maybe next year will be your year. You could be dealt a worse hand than a poor crop!
Recently we heard about a story that was hard to believe at first. A 4-Her in a wheelchair won sheep showmanship at a competitive county fair show. People who saw it say he absolutely deserved it.
He not only showed in a wheelchair, he has been in a wheelchair nearly all his life. He never walked or crawled, his mother says. Kyle Albertson had a choice at a young age – he could let people feel sorry for him, or he could fight to get as much out of life as possible. He chose to fight. Kyle Albertson has a severe form of muscular dystrophy.
"Kyle has never let anything hold him back," says his mom, Tracy. "He has always found ways to adapt to situations so that he can participate as fully as possible."
For example, showing livestock as a seven-year 4-H member isn't the only physical activity Kyle conquers. He's a member of a power soccer team, where all participants play from wheel chairs.
Just participating isn't good enough – Kyle tries to do his absolute best. He knows more about livestock than most his age; it's one reason the judge at the county fair gave for picking Kyle as champion sheep showman.
When it comes to power soccer, his team won the National Presidents Cup in Phoenix, Ariz., in 2013, and took second in the Champions Cup in June in Indianapolis. He started playing soccer in first grade.
Kyle may not know it, but he's setting an example that's difficult for even adults to follow. Most of us think a common headache or an ache or pain is a big deal. Some who don't have a farmer's work ethic stay home with a common cold.
It might be more difficult to phone in sick next time after you've met someone like Kyle, if only through pictures and a story. Imagine never walking, never running, never able to go anywhere without help. Does he have something he could complain about? Does he have a reason to just sit in his chair and let the world go by? You bet!
But he doesn't – he has fought his way into as many activities as he can handle. He also participates in the Benton Central FFA.
The other lesson here seems hard to miss. Some things just don't seem like such a big deal after you hear about someone like Kyle. I've shared my disappointment when an animal gets sick or a sow lays on a pig. In the big scope of things, life goes on. I walk to the house. I type on my computer keyboard. Life goes on.
Life goes on for Kyle, his mom and dad insist. But he has to want it to go on. He spends energy doing things most of us take for granted just to get to as level a playing field as he can.
I had a boss many years ago who wouldn't let us write about farmers with disabilities who continued farming. He implied he thought they should find something else to do.
Really? Why look down on someone who gives their all to pursue their dream despite setbacks they've been dealt? For my part, I look up to them as inspirations. Just like Kyle, setting an example we all would do well to follow!