I Am Only Human...

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.

My favorite 7 year old takes in some oxygen after a 25 yard freestyle race that she is able to complete without breaking her stroke for a breath!

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.

If you look carefully at the back of our team shirt that I am wearing, you will read the caption “Oxygen is Overrated”. My favorite 12 year old (pictured here) knows that as she builds her lungs in the pool, she also builds her confidence and toughness…

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.

Watching the sun rise over the feed yard is a beautiful way to start the day…

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 plate is pretty full…

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.

The reporter visiting with Matt about the business side of our crop farm…

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.

As the story goes to press:

  • I am excited that someone thought that our life was interesting enough to write about.
  • I am nervous about my ability to share the extent of the love and the personal commitment that Matt and I have toward our farm.
  • I am scared of how others will perceive both the article and our farm.

Throughout the interview process, I reminded myself that I am only human. 

If you are interested in reading about The 21st Century Family Farm as depicted by Business Week magazine the link is: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-06-28/the-21st-century-family-farm.  Happy reading and Welcome to our Farm!

Anne Burkholder

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