Skip to content

They watch everything we do…

Our children watch everything we do, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I know this, we all know this, but as we are in the thick of county fair season I have been reminded of it once again.

Red Ribbons

I am not proud of the next few sentences I am going to type, but I am an open book and always share because I know my storms and trials may help others.  Our family started off last week with static judging at the county fair.  Both girls had projects, Ellie for Clover Kids, and Grace for 4-H.  They had both worked really hard, just like all of the kids do to prepare for the county fair.  Grace confidently marched to get in line to get judged on her quilt that she had made. As she walked away from me I couldn’t help but think about the pep she had in her step as she walked away.  I watched as she talked with the judge, shared about her project, and pointed to her goal page and pictures that she had compiled. 

I must have been looking away as it ended because when I looked up Grace was walking towards me WITHOUT that pep in her step.  As any mom would do I said, “What’s the matter?”  Her response, “I got red and she said I could have done better.”  My horrible response that I wish I could take back (imagine my tone), “You, got a red?!?!” Then when I saw the tears welling up in her eyes I just threw her next project at her and told her to get in line with her scotcheroos and cookies.

Being the worrywart that I am I have replayed my reaction a million times in my head.  Do I wish I would have responded differently? Absolutely!  Did she/I learn something from it? Absolutely! I was truly just shocked, not mad.  I knew how hard she had worked on that quilt, but in the end, how hard a parent thinks their child worked on a project doesn’t impact the color of ribbon that is given by the JUDGE.  They are the judge for a reason.  Once I was able to gather my thoughts I was able to respond totally different when she walked back towards me with 2 blues and consideration to the state fair and we talked about what she might have done to improve her quilt to make it a blue ribbon quilt. Had I not done that and took a different approach to the red ribbon the entire day could have gone a different direction.  When we laid our heads down that night I told her to never let the red ribbon take away from the 4 blue ribbons and consideration for the state fair that she had received, but use it to encourage her to try again next year.

So why am I telling all of you this story?  Over the next few weeks of county fair season your children, grandchildren, neighbor children, or club members are going to be watching YOU.  They are watching how you react, interact with others, volunteer, and how you handle THEIR wins and losses. 

These children are the future volunteers at our county fairs and in our communities and they are making memories that will last a lifetime.  They will follow in our footsteps and lead another generation of 4-H and FFA members.  I encourage all of us to truly think about the comments that we make about that hog that wins that we think was too fat, that red ribbon that we think should have been a purple, or giving of your time to clean a neighbors pen or sweep all of the aisles (just because) even if it isn’t your kids' aisle.

Remember they watch everything we do…

What are some of your favorite county fair memories or experiences?

From the gravel road,

Jen

2

Last weekend Father Brunkan gave that same knock me over the head message that I was needing to hear at the exact moment that he gave it…

Photo courtesy of Brenda Schmitt at Family Fun Night, Roseville

Father Brunkan told a story of a little boy and his interest in a cocoon that a man had.  The man had told the young boy not to touch or bother the cocoon. As time passed the young boy saw the butterfly inside starting to beat its wings against the inside of the cocoon.  The young boy panicked and did the opposite of his instructions and broke open the cocoon to help the butterfly get out. To his amazement the butterfly didn’t flutter away, instead, it dropped to the ground and died.  The boy was embarrassed and sheepishly returned to the man. The man explained to him that the butterfly NEEDED to struggle and beat its wings against the cocoon to build the strength to survive outside of the cocoon.

Parenting

The first thing that popped into my head-Parenting!  As parents, there are so many times that we want to just fix things for our kids, especially when they are living in our homes (cocoons).  It is so hard to watch them make bad decisions, big mistakes, and get their hearts broke. It would be SO easy to talk to that coach for them, call that teacher, or chew out that other kid that stomped on their precious heart. BUT, that does not help them build their wings and fly.  As hard as it is to witness sometimes, we have to let our children flap their wings and struggle. If we as parents don’t let them struggle they will never, ever be able to fly on their own.

Life

Then I thought about was myself.  There have been SO many times that I have asked why?  Asked the question about why certain things have happened in my life. Why Crohn's? Why meningitis? Why have I had to lose good people in my life? I guess the why might be to strengthen my wings. Had I not been through all of my health struggles I might not be such an understanding person.  Had I not had meningitis I might have chosen to live my life in a different manner and not be a person that focused on dreaming big and huge. The struggle has gotten me where I needed to be today!

Agriculture

Lastly, I started thinking about our agriculture community. We have been hit hard!  I would venture to guess that most farmers and ranchers would tell you that they don’t feel like a butterfly trying to flap their wings to strengthen them, but they feel like the butterfly that is trying to remove itself from the grill of a Chevy that was driving down a blacktop in rural Iowa.  It’s hard, EVERYONE is asking why. Why so much rain? Why floods? Why the prices? While I don’t know the answer to why I do know that there is no better community to witness coming together than the agriculture community. In hard times and time of loss of life, farmers and ranchers, resemble a roost of monarchs coming together and those farmers will beat their wings just as hard as those monarchs headed south to help a neighbor in need.  I pray that we continue to keep that same courage to keep flapping through this hard season of life, encouraging each other to look ahead and I know buried deep somewhere there is a plan to make us all stronger by beating our wings through it.

What does Father's story make you think about? If you have a favorite story from Father Brunkan I would love to hear it, you can write it in the comments.

From the gravel road-

Jen  

%d bloggers like this: