The three-year-old boy crawled under the fence of his grandparents’ backyard — quietly slipping away from his older cousins who had been tasked with watching him, but who were instead caught up in a very heated discussion about the latest alleged out in their kickball game as well as the scoring capabilities of ghost runners.
The boy walked with a confidence that only three-year-old boys possess. No fear. No hurry. No concern for anyone else. As his short legs strode across the freshly cut hayfield, he seemed on a mission. And as he neared a large round bale — still standing in the spot where it had been recently deposited by the baler — it became clear what that mission was.
He squared his shoulders, placed both hands on the bale, and pushed against that 1,000-pound roll of hay with everything he had in his little 35-pound body.
After a moment he paused. Took a breath. Took a step back for added leverage, and again, heaved all of his might against that bale. It was only a matter of time now before it rolled over.
This went on for some time. Until an adult, realizing the boy’s absence from the scrum of the kickball game, noticed him toiling in the field. “What are you doing?” they asked as they approached him.
“I’m pushing over this hay bale,” he responded, with a look on his face that signaled his disdain for answering very obvious questions.
Oh, to have the self-assuredness of a three-year-old boy. To believe that anything is possible; that any obstacle will bend to your will.
Unfortunately, the harsh realities of life often replace that childlike faith with skepticism, doubt, unbelief. The mountains seem less and less moveable.
The Bible tells us to have the faith of a child, and if you were looking for an object lesson on that subject, a farm is the place to find it. Whether it’s a small boy convinced he can move a round bale more than 20 times his size … or a lifelong farmer who’s convinced he can make it even though the weather and the economy and unending regulation all seemed stacked against him. Producers who have faced down a year like 2022 and can still look ahead with determination — that’s faith.
Self-improvement writer and trainer Dale Carnegie once said that “most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”
Whether it’s crop failure, unexpected illness, financial strain or some other loss, many of you know the feeling of pushing with all your might against something that just won’t budge. Conventional wisdom may say the smart choice is to stop, and perhaps that would be best.
But thank goodness for those who have kept pushing.