Some people say that how you view life has to do with your attitude toward it. For one boy, his unique challenge was shaped in an unexpected way: by his grandmother.
Chris Koch was born into a family of farmers. The Koch family and their community valued physical labor and knew the reality of how hard it was. That was why it was a shock when Koch was born. His parents discovered he had no arms or legs.
They may well have wondered how their son would ever fit into their community of able-bodied people. But it was Koch’s grandmother who shaped how he viewed life with her unique take on the situation.
When she saw her newborn grandson, she wryly commented about Koch’s father.
“Bruce never did finish anything he started,” she said.
It was that wry humor that accompanied Koch throughout his life.
His family decided they wouldn’t treat him any differently from other children without disabilities. As a result, Koch was encouraged to be extremely independent of an early age. While he was still a child, he was riding tractors on the farm with his parents. When he was nine, he decided he wanted to drive one himself.
Even in the rural farming community in Alberta, Canada, Koch never felt ashamed of his condition.
He didn’t want to wear his prosthetic limbs to school, preferring to go exactly as he was.
These days, he is still living in the area, but he’s also a motivational speaker and even appeared on “Oprah.”
“My attitude, my frame of mind, my positiveness, is basically a byproduct of my parents and their — no pun intended — hands-off approach in how they raised me,” said Koch. “You know, they didn’t coddle me, they didn’t baby me, it wasn’t ‘Oh my gosh, what are we gonna do? Our son has no arms and no legs’. It was, ‘Well, we’ll take it all in stride.’”
And Koch said that attitude all started with his grandmother’s dry joke on the day of his birth.
But he also says he doesn’t regret his life. At one school where he was giving a talk, Koch says he was approached by a student who wanted to know what his dream job would be — that is if he had arms and legs.
Koch’s answer was simple: he’s already got his dream job.
“I love working in agriculture,” he said. “I love jumping on tractors and combines.”
Jumping is the right way to describe it because that’s literally how Koch gets around.
He prefers not to use prosthetic limbs and instead, hops to get around. He can even scale the steps to his enormous tractors by pulling himself up by his shoulders. He says he enjoys seeing people’s surprise when they realize that the man expertly driving the farm equipment is someone without limbs.
“I don’t use a lot of prosthetics or adaptive tools, just ‘cause if you have all these limbs and devices, then you have to take them around with you, and I like to travel,” said Koch. “Forget having to pack all this extra gear with you. So, I’m kind of a ‘less is more’ type of person.”
Koch says he also enjoys the mix of lifestyle his job offers him.
He gets to spend time at home, farming in the area where his family has been for at least three generations. But he also gets to spend time on the road, traveling to different events and meeting new people.
After his segment on “Oprah,” Koch was flooded with positive responses from all over the world.
He was amazed by the response and support that flowed in, having thought that his story wouldn’t really stand out in anyone’s mind.
He also says that he has his moments of depression and doubt, just like anybody. But he always tries to make sure they pass, so he can focus on positivity again.
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Source: Little Things