I tell my own children and the children that I coach that I will never ask them to do anything that I do not fully believe that they can do. I am notorious for challenging my young athletes, and we always end each swimming practice with 25 yard freestyle sprints where there is no breathing allowed. It is amazing to watch both the strength and the confidence of my athletes build as they learn to believe in themselves.
As both a mom and a coach I have found that as I raise the bar higher, the kids always rise to the challenge and perform better. I am training not only their bodies, but also their minds. Self-confidence and the ability to work through physical and mental challenges to reach victory are vitally important life lessons that my athletes will remember long after each season is over.
In my own life, I also raise the bar pretty high as I juggle being a mom, a youth athletic coach, a caretaker of close to 3000 cattle, and an advocate for agriculture. Most days I am at the feed yard just after 6:00am and am still going strong as the sun sinks below the horizon sometime after 9:00pm. I fall into bed at night exhausted and wondering what the next day will bring.
There is no doubt that entering the world of advocacy has lengthened my days. I often find myself thinking of my swimmers as the mental challenge of adding one more thing to the list pushes the limits of my abilities. There are days when I think to myself, I am only human, how will I get everything done?
My experience with popular media outside of agriculture and my blog site is limited. I have spent most of my efforts connecting with people outside of my farm on a personal level. I rarely have allowed a reporter the ability to have a glimpse of my life and then given him the right to portray that glimpse to others.
Recently, I took a leap of faith and opened the door to my life, my family and my farm to a Washington DC reporter. He spent about a day with our family, in addition to several phone interviews. A consulting photographer visited our farm two different times to take pictures. When I agreed to the interview, I never dreamed how vulnerable I would feel as the story was being written.
It is one thing to sit down at my own computer and write about personal experiences. It is something entirely different to allow a stranger to write about his perceptions of both my family and our farm. Throughout the entire process, I have experienced a myriad of emotions.
It appears that this Friday the story will go to press…
- I wonder if I was successful in conveying my life and my livelihood in a meaningful and understandable fashion?
- I worry that the story that will go to press might not accurately portray who I am and what I believe in.
Throughout this process, I remind myself that I am only human and the story that gets told is now out of my hands. It has taken personal strength for each member of my family to go through this experience, and I am very thankful that Matt and my girls were willing to rise to the occasion.
I will post a link to the article once it is published, as well as offer my own thoughts on the contents of the article in a blog post next week…