by Jesse Bussard
We all have had those people that came into our life and changed us forever. Most times these people didn’t even know they had such an influence. These acts of kindness could have been something as simple as a few words of comfort or as big as a loan to help you pay your college tuition.
For me it’s kind of like that Eric Church song “Loved Along The Way” where he sings “I wouldn’t be who I am today if not for those I’ve loved along the way.” Those words really put it in perspective for me. None of us would make it as far as we’ve gotten without the help of others along the way.
For me those “people” have been both people and even a few of the four-legged kind. Life hasn’t always been sunshine and roses for me. High school and the few years after graduation were filled with a lot of family turmoil, frequent moves, and just general chaos. Through that time, horses and the folks involved with my equine activities played an integral role in getting me to where I am in life today.
When I was about 15, I got my very first paying job at a local stable that specialized in draft horses. I worked there throughout my time in high school. The man and his wife that owned this stable became like family to me and I still consider them that to this day. They took a chance on me when they hired me and for that I am ever grateful. I learned how to drive and handle draft horses and was exposed to a completely different side of the horse industry.
One of my fondest memories involved learning how to drive a truck and horse trailer. When I was studying to get my driver’s license this man took time out of his busy schedule to hook up his pickup truck and horse trailer for me every evening that I worked after school. We spent countless hours driving that truck and trailer through a field, with me learning how to back and turn that rig. He never once lost his patience with me.
After high school, I didn’t run off to college like the rest of my class. Instead, I worked part-time and had temporary jobs. I found jobs starting colts and riding horses for local horse owners. It took me three years and one influential woman that I worked for riding and training horses to make me realize my full potential. She saw something in me that had let go by the wayside. She encouraged me to follow my passion for horses and livestock and pursue a college degree. She gave me that kick in the rear I needed.
So what’s the point I’m trying to make by telling you these stories? Well, it’s like this. You may think you have nothing to offer others. I disagree. We all have something to give, even if it’s just a few kind words or minutes of our time. That one small act of kindness you give may be the defining moment in life for another. As a wise man once said, “Unselfish investment in people drives progress.”