I think of these three: strong mind, strong body, and strong personality, that a strong mind is the most important. If you have a strong mind, you can weather almost anything. A strong mind can overcome a less strong body—I’m not sure you can separate a strong mind and a strong personality because it seems to me that they go hand-in-hand and right along with a strong heart. A strong mind equips you to press on when others test your mettle; when they hurl insults or won’t take you seriously, when they feign apathy or challenge what you know is right. A strong mind can keep your wits about you through beatings, starvation, invasions of your body, distance, fear and the unknown. A strong mind finds you not quite whole on the other side, but it brings you back to a kind of whole. What makes a strong mind? I think at some point when you’re little, you need to know that you are loved beyond reason. I also think that if your home is not a safe place, there has to be a safe place that you find—at school or church, somewhere. You need adults to care about you, to help form you, to show you when you’re good and right and true and caring and strong. You build these memories, no matter how deep they’re buried, into your being to make a strong mind. And books, lots of books to open you up to worlds better than yours so you can see possibility. Now, if you can manage to get a horse in there, then you’re all set.
Back in the day, there were so many strong minds that built what we have today. This last weekend, we went to an antique farm show celebrating this heritage. This machine was an early day threshing machine, restored in all its beauty to thresh wheat at this show. You can see that it took a long belt hooked up to an antique tractor to power it, a wagon full of wheat bundles to be threshed and a little flared-box wagon to gather the grains after it was separated from the chaff. And imagine that before this machine was engineered, there were horse drawn machines.