Pig Play: Driven by Emotion, Inspired by Tears
Guest Post by Wade Orscheln
In the last few days I have been inspired not by a paid motivational speaker, not by my boss, not by a famous person or athlete, not even by an adult, but by the great youth we have in agriculture. The last few days I have found myself running back and forth from home to Sedalia trying to watch my FFA students exhibit their livestock at the Missouri State Fair. Which reminds me that I must thank my principal for letting me out of those beginning of the year teacher meetings so I could attend these shows. These kids give me hope in our future. They showed me a passion and drive I thought that had been lost in our American youth.
Maybe I’m becoming soft with age, but several times during the youth swine show I found myself drying my eyes. I got to witness a blind young man with the help of a friend who served as his eyes exhibit the 4-H reserve champion barrow. I watched as his friend embraced him with a big hug. The smile on his face and the tears in the eyes of the crowd was priceless. I just wish for a moment he could visually see how great his duroc barrow really was. I wish he knew how motivational he was. He didn’t just show the 4-H reserve champion barrow but showed the world that a disability doesn’t have to disable.
I got the opportunity to listen to a judge speak before selecting the youth show overall champion barrow. He spoke about, that what was going on in the swine barn that day wasn’t about the livestock at all, that it was about the kids in the show ring. After his speech I witnessed a young man get the slap that every livestock exhibitor dreams of. That slap that the judge gives your animal when choosing the grand champion. Instantly the young man wrapped his arms around the judge and broke into tears. These tears were tears of joy and passion.
I got the opportunity to see a former student and FFA member show me a passion for driving a barrow in a show ring I can only dream of having every day in my classroom. This student has been like a daughter to me for the past 5 years. After she finished showing her barrow she sat behind me in the bleachers. As she sat down I turned to give her a smile. When I looked in eyes I could see the tears building on her lower eyelids. I’ve seen these tears before in the 4 years of having her as a student. As I gave her a pat, I asked her if it was because of how her barrow did in the show ring. She shook her head no and at that moment I realized what these tears were. As I asked her if it because it was all coming to a close, she nodded her head yes. This young lady like so many other livestock exhibitors have worked so hard and have so much love and passion for their livestock. Little did she know, but those same tears at that moment were building up on bottom of my eyelids also.
I’m about to start my 12th year in education and hope at the end of the year I find those same passion driven tears in my eyes as these kids had. Tears derived knowing that I’m one year closer to the close of my career. A career that I still love and hope that passion always stays strong. So here is to a year of teaching with a passion and letting nothing disable that passion to develop champion students!
P.S. (By Melanie A. Peters) Educators are on the front lines when it comes to shaping our future. Wade teaches in one of the most difficult fields because agriculture is not considered “core” curriculum. The lessons his students and ag students all over the country get from ag classes are truly at the core of our future. Thank you, Wade, and congratulations to your successful showmen and women in the fair ring this summer.