Everything about the following story will make you feel a little bit better about the world: It’s got pre-teen twins with a sense of purpose and accomplishment; it’s got people overcoming disabilities to achieve something great that works because of compassion; and—most importantly—it’s got goats.
This is the story of Faith and Caleb Snapp, legally blind twins from Lubbock, and their prize goats. It comes to us from the Houston Press, although the story of the Snapps—who are now twelve years old—has been reported several times over the years, because gentle twins who raise goats to competition-levels while living with a severe disability is the sort of story everyone likes. Here’s what the Press has to say:
This month Faith and Caleb will be competing at the Houston Livestock Show for the fifth year in a row. They’re a familiar sight in the goat world, as those who show animals call it. They aren’t identical, but they’re both skinny kids with pale blue eyes that look blurry behind thick, concave glasses.
The glasses are the only visible clue that the twins can’t see. They’ve been legally blind since birth, and when they walk into the ring, there’s always a spotter at each twin’s side to whisper instructions about where to place the goat and where to look.
But this isn’t the Paralympics. They don’t compete in a separate category. While other contestants are checking out the competition, moving around to catch the judge’s eye by staring directly into his face, watching out for any potential accidents in the making — there are often 100 goats in the ring at the same time — Faith and Caleb see everything as if they’re peering at the world through a coffee straw, discerning only blurry shapes and pinpricks of color and light.
And yet somehow, that is enough.
The story, by Dianna Wray, is quality writing about a pair of special young people who succeed in a difficult world (the Goat World!) and do so within the rules of that world. The Press story explains what happened to the Snapps (the twins were born prematurely; as a result, their retinas failed to properly attach) and how they came to love their goats so much (their family is a livestock family, and they found that they took to the animals quickly).
It’s always risky to hold people with disabilities to a standard that says that we should all find them inspiring—they’re just living their lives, not out there to inspire us—so let’s not dwell too much on Caleb and Faith’s blindness. Instead, let’s focus on the talents these young people have for raising goats, and aspire to do something as useful with our lives.
(image via texasyouthlivestock.com)