October 16, 2021

Estes: Failing upwards

As I write this, fatigue built up during the early morning and long days at the county fair still threatens to take over my body and force me to take a long nap. However, I am beyond ecstatic to say that all the time spent helping my kids prepare their 4-H projects and sheep for the Johnson County Fair was more than worth it.

It is no secret that I am what one might call competitive, and more often than not I tend to wear my heart on my sleeves. I have always been competitive, but I became more so when I look back at activities I participated in during high school and college and realize how I could have done better in certain areas by studying more or working harder.

Due to this, I tend to heavily encourage my kids to study really hard and that practice makes perfect whenever they are going to play in a sporting event or compete in a sheep show.

Part of the reason I push so much, I think, is because, my dad used to tell me the importance of studying and paying attention. While he did push me to work hard, he also would only tell me so many times before letting me learn the hard way what happens if I didn’t put in the effort.

Since I learned that lesson the hard way, I have always tried to help my children avoid experiencing this lesson the hard way. However, although my kids had a fantastic fair and brought home some purple ribbons and banners, my son felt everyone was harping on him about what he needed to do when in the show ring or the importance of studying his tractor identification parts.

It was right then that I realized I would harp a lot, but it was because I knew he was capable of being successful in the activities in which he participated. I had forgotten another important lesson that my son needs to learn — the importance of excelling or failing on his own and learning from that.

Ashley Estes

Ashley Estes

Field Editor