Through the Eyes of a Child
October 23, 2019
By Aaron Mitchell
Young Leader Committee Member
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that 2019 has been a bear for those of us in agriculture. Between trade wars and inclement weather, we can't seem to catch a break. In the dairy industry especially, it seems as though you can't go more than a day without seeing a new ad for a herd dispersal. With so much uncertainty in the industry as a whole, it’s been hard to find the silver lining. Though, it’s in times like these when we just have to view things from a different angle to recognize that things are still beautiful, and everything will be okay.
Recently, I was having a hard time finding that angle. Long days, rainy weather, and just the overall feeling of not being able to get ahead of a long list of projects made it hard to stay positive. They say, “do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life." Yet, when that love isn’t being reciprocated, it just seems a lot like work. On a particularly bad day, when things were breaking and the cows hadn’t been overly cooperative, in walked my new angle.
Like I do on most days, I was washing calf bottles. The door to the calf barn opened and in stepped my cousin who smiled shyly and said a quick hello. I then watched as she scampered through the barn before coming to a halt and sitting down in front of the second pen from the end on the right-hand side. A little square of yellow duct tape on the front of the pen reads “2398,” but this calf isn't just 2398 to my cousin - this is Bella. This is her calf.
To my cousin, this calf is hours of hard work.
This calf is my cousin riding her bike to the farm every day and waiting patiently for 9 months to see if her mother has calved.
This calf is full of potential.
This calf is the future.
While I stood there watching all of this unfold, I thought back to when I was my cousin’s age. There I was, 16 years before, in the calving pen as my cow Ashley was licking off her newborn calf Emma. All of the same feelings came rushing back to me, and that’s when it hit me. The angle that I should be looking at things - through the eyes of a child.
Bella may never grace the colored shavings of World Dairy Expo or become a record-breaking milk producer - but through the eyes of my cousin - she is perfect. Through the eyes of a child, it’s easy to see the potential. Through the eyes of a child, there is always hope. That’s why when things get tough, I’ve decided to look at things through the eyes of a child.