I thought when I completed my 10th year in 4-H, that was the end my 4-H experience, but hoped that one day I would be able to help my children enjoy the 4-H experience just like I did. Little did I know how much being a 4-H mom was similar to my days when I actually was a 4-H member.
Growing up, my parents always would tell my siblings and me how even though they weren’t the ones doing the projects and competing in the show ring, they still put a lot of effort into helping use get ready from the fair, whether it was driving us to and from 4-H meetings or helping walk our livestock if we were sick and couldn’t do it.
I was thankful for their help, but when they would joke that it was like they practically were in 4-H themselves, I would laugh it off and tell them no, because they weren’t the ones that had to talk to judges and brace their sheep in the show ring for 30 minutes while a judge placed a large class.
Now that my son is in his first year of 4-H and my daughter is in mini 4-H, I would say I have to agree with my parents that being a 4-H parent feels an awfully lot like I’m in 4-H again.
Just like my parents did with my siblings and me, my son’s 4-H projects and his sheep are his responsibility, but as his mom, it’s also my duty to hold him accountable and help him when needed, without doing his projects and work for him.
This past weekend, my son headed to Florida to spend two weeks with his dad, who lives there. Although it’s not ideal for my son to be gone for two weeks during the summer leading up to the fair and not being able to work with his sheep, before he left, I made him get most of his projects done and complete his record sheet.
Before he left, my son was worried that his sheep wouldn’t get worked with and they would get lazy while he was gone and wouldn’t be ready to work with him when he got back.
So, I decided to fully accept the title of 4-H mom and work with my son’s sheep everyday while he was gone, including walking and setting them up, to make sure they didn’t get lazy and forget how to walk for my son.
Although I won’t show sheep in the show arena this summer, when my son takes his sheep to the county fair, I will beam with pride that my son is able to show his sheep in the ring without the fear of them running away or falling over because he trusted me enough to help him with his 4-H journey.