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Tales of a Hay Hauler: Searching for balance

Brad Nelson for Progressive Forage Published on 28 December 2016

Life is interesting. It’s been almost 34 years since my dad passed away, and I can remember things he said many years before while I’m forgetting what I went into the next room for five minutes ago. Someone told me that passing through a doorway causes the short-term memory to reset. I hope that’s my only problem.

Dad mentioned that he’d seen families where the overall discipline was, he thought, too casual and laid-back. When talking with members of that family, he found out that the previous generation had been heavy on “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”

Help just one personOn the next farm, the family seemed to be under the thumb of strict disciplinarians. This father stated that it was a miracle he lived to be 21 – as little guidance as he had growing up with what seemed like no boundaries at all. Both families were trying to correct what they viewed as too much or too little.

Dad commented that it seemed to take a few generations for things to settle in to a happy medium. (I asked Dad if a happy medium was like an inebriated soothsayer, and he tried to swat me.)

Pepper in the stew is the same deal. Just a little fresh ground pepper from a pepper mill adds a wonderful aroma and a nice kick to the flavor – but just because some does some good doesn’t mean more will do more good. I like enough pepper in a stew to give it the pepper aroma, and then I like to warm it up further with hot sauce.

Some people I’m very close to feel that if they can smell the pepper, there’s too much. The balance of pepper in the stew can be altered by the individual diner with no harm done to those with more sensitive tastes.

The political pendulum of our country has made a swing. Most of the counties in the country approved this, while most of the densely populated urban areas did not. Change in the direction of government seems to be a sign that the previous group at the top of the heap was too far from center for most of the country.

Through it all, please remember that for most of us, most of the time, we make things work on our farms and in our businesses in spite of the government rather than because of it. We make things work because we think we can. For most of us, if we don’t make things happen, nothing will happen. So how do we make things happen on a national scale?

Mother Theresa was quoted as saying, “To change the world, go home and love your family.” Add to this a charge to help our neighbors.

If 10 people in every town and village and subdivision and county, who understand that for things to happen they need to make them happen, would only share. If they would share the “can do” attitude of Yankee ingenuity with just one other person … if they could help just one person rise from hopelessness to being able to see a way to make life work for them, that would change the nation.

People need someone who can make them believe they can succeed more than they need financial aid.

Ask questions: “What would you like to be doing to support your family?” and “Why do you think you can’t?”

An associate told me of a general laborer he hired, who approached him when he saw a better job coming available. The laborer said, “I’m sure I can run that machine if you’ll just show me how the controls work.”

And so he did. It wasn’t the fellow’s abilities but his attitude that got him that promotion – and later other promotions. In two years, the man was my associate’s crew chief.

People lose hope. Something is wrong when individuals are begging for pocket change in the parking lot of a mall in which several businesses have up “Help Wanted” signs. Do they need someone to show them how the controls work?

An old man was walking the seashore as the tide receded. As he walked, he picked up stranded starfish and tossed them back into the sea. An observer said that he’d never be able to make a difference to all the starfish; he was just one man.

The old man walked to the next stranded starfish, picked it up and, as he tossed it to safety in the sea, he said, “It makes a big difference to this one.” And so it will be when one person helps just one other person see the potential he or she has inside.

Just one person. Sometime this year. Can you take that challenge? It doesn’t have to be a stranger; it can even be a family member. Help someone find hope. Help someone hone a skill they need to qualify for a job.

If you can do this, you will have done more for your country and for humanity than all the politicians in the world have done for a thousand years. It will make a big difference to that one person, to his or her family and to the nation.

Carry on. You, my friends, make America great.  end mark

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