Laura: Little things make big impacts

Montana—Little Man tore open the envelope with excitement and curiosity, wondering who from Texas would be sending him a letter in the mail. As he read the words printed on a lined piece of notebook paper, he was soon smiling from ear to ear. It was from a boy he had met in north Texas, at our first stop, and they attended the same church and basketball camp together. They had even had a fun play date.  

I reminded him that the Lord provides what we need at just the right time. That very morning, the children had been grappling with the realization that school would be starting soon but it would be several more weeks before they rejoin their schoolmates in the classroom. We homeschool on the road through the end of wheat harvest. The road life, while full of amazing educational opportunities and fun, can sometimes be a place of loneliness and it just so happens we were feeling it this morning. I know in the grand scheme of life, this concern of theirs may not seem like much. But in their childhood world, it is a very real thing, and worth addressing with them. That letter came at just the right time. Sometimes, seemingly little things, make big impacts. That letter made an impact.  

One of the hats I wear is being involved in mental health initiatives with Kansas Farm Bureau. I fully believe that mental health is as just important as physical health. Sometimes our “pull ourselves up by our boot steps” attitudes can be one our of strongest attributes in rural America and agriculture, but sometime we can push it to our detriment. 

There are so many positives that come with a life in agriculture. Even though most of us wouldn’t trade our lives here in the rural places for anything, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t hard, and even really hard, sometimes. While it’s not healthy to wallow in every little thing that goes wrong, it is equally unhealthy to sweep it all under the rug and pretend nothing is wrong. Over time, that swept up mess can overflow our mental houses. We need to have a safe way to release that stress and do so before it piles to unhealthy levels.  

This letter gave us a chance to talk about the hard parts of harvest. It also allowed us to revisit the reasons why keeping our family together benefits us in the long run. We are all on board with our choices, but that doesn’t mean that our harvest travel blessing eliminate us from feeling the challenges. It’s OK to feel the emotions that come along with the adventure and address them accordingly. After airing it out in a chat, everyone soon started to feel better.  

How is your mental health doing? What steps are you taking to keep yourself healthy for you and those you love? And if you’re in a good place, is there anything you can do to help your family and neighbors around you? It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but sometimes a simple call or text can truly brighten someone’s outlook at just the right time. 

A sweet, handwritten note never goes out of style.
The kids enjoyed the rodeo, funnel cake, and walking around the Montana State Fair.
Learning about the steamboats that once traveled up the Missouri River to Montana.
This was such a beautiful hike in one of Montana’s state parks.
I’m not sure if we were relieved or slightly disappointed that we didn’t find a rattlesnake in the teepee like we did a few years ago.

Laura Haffner can be reached at

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is brought to you by Unverferth Manufacturing Co., Inc.High Plains Journal, New HollandITC Holdings CorpU.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc., Kramer Seed Farms and Lumivia Insecticide Treatment by Corteva Agriscience.

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