In a town where there are less than 2,000 people, stands a school that sits right beside a chicken plant. If you drive through this very small town and blink, you will miss it. If you keep your eyes open and look around, you still have a chance of missing it. My small town’s beauty isn’t on the surface, but in the core. You would have to meet the people to see the true beauty.
Growing up I wanted to get out of school as fast as I could. I wanted to go to college, get a job, etc. The point is, I was in a hurry to get out. I don’t know why I was in such a hurry, because growing up kids is not as fun as they make it seem on tv.
I was an active high school kid, and spent countless hours in a blue corduroy jacket. I was branded the “Aggie,” and that was always perfectly fine with me. I always heard the joking question, “were you Raised in a Barn?” That question would later become a major part of my life.
When I graduated in 2013 from Jay, Oklahoma, I had some idea what I wanted to do with my life. I told myself that I would never go back home, and I said that not because I didn’t love my family. I said that because I might have lived there my whole life, but I was a tourist to my own town. I was always looking for the sights and scenery, instead of the town’s true character.
When I left to go to college I wish I could say I done it all on my own, I didn’t though. Through my hard work in high school, the town came together and helped donate money to me and my fellow classmates to go to college. I still walked away saying see you never. If Justin Beiber can teach us all anything, it is to never say never.
My first semester of college I made every excuse I could on why I would go home every other weekend, and go spend some time with my old FFA chapter. As I grew older, my love for my hometown grew stronger.
As I fill out job applications and plan my life, I keep thinking about my hometown. A town where there are larger than life personalities, and an opportunity for growth. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, you can always make a positive difference in your community.
If there is one thing I want the kids reading this to understand is, keep your eyes open. Don’t live life waiting for the next big thing. “Oh, I turn 16 next month and I will get to drive.” Don’t focus on that moment, but all of the little things that get you to where you want to be.
When I started Raised in a Barn, it was my family, friends, and community who read it. They would share it and cheer me on. As Raised in a Barn has grew to more than 30,000 Facebook followers, only one town on the map has a large number of readers. You might leave your hometown one day, and that is perfectly fine. Just never forget how you got to where you are today.
Celebrate the everyday moments. Make every moment count.
For the record, there is nothing wrong with being a small town kid. Small town kids can accomplish big things.
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