Sunday, June 03, 2018

7 Things That Happen When Your Kids are in 4-H

Just seven things? Of course, more than seven things happen when your kids are in 4-H.  I'm making mental notes of what I want to do differently in the following years. Sometimes it's picking up the phone to ask alumni, a vet, or a friend, what can I do to make this better?

I still catch myself telling  my kids, "When I was in 4-H, this is how we did it!"  I am sure I thought I worked really hard on my projects, and I bet my parents thought I could have put more work into my projects.  That's what parents do.  Push their kids, because we know what they are capable of. 

What matters is the lessons we teach our kids, and the habits that form over time.  
  1. You meet a lot of families with the same interest as yours.

    Photography, foods, animals, or learning about lawn mower parts, you are going to find that these parents are teaching their kids the same thing you want to teach your kids.  Chores, responsibility, life skills and knowing their way around the kitchen.  Survival.  Think you did it right the first time? Let's do it again!  Knowing other families with the same interests gives you someone to talk to, with questions about feeding, picking out an animal to purchase.  I have had conversations with some 4-H moms about the best brand of flour to use for our kids foods project.

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  2. You discuss more livestock than you ever thought you would at the dinner table
    My son started talking about sows at the dinner table that I'm sure most kids don't talk about. My daughter's friends who were over for the evening learned a few things. One time my son started talking about pigs when we were out to eat.  He was helping another breeder and was beginning to learn about what it takes to breed a sow.  I thought my husband wanted to hide under the table.  
  3. There are deadlines to meet, and we like to push it to the last minute.

    As parents, we promise ourselves we are starting projects "earlier next year"  and many can be completed in the winter time.  Time tends to get away from us, and most projects are completed, just in time for check-in on general projects day. 

  4. When things start disappearing from the house, you know it's probably out in the barn.

    My kitchen ladder disappeared this spring.  I  use it to get to the top shelf in the kitchen.  I'm that short, or my cabinets are just too tall.  The ladder is being used to hang lights, and fans, and hold a door open.

    I'd love to hear what kind of soap is your favorite to use on pigs, we use Dawn. You know why it gets the grease out! So when we run out, the kids pull mine from the kitchen sink.

    We like to give pigs treats.  It's a late night snack or a way to coax them to walk out of the barn, or a little further down the lane.  All the marshmallows are currently cleared out of the pantry.

  5. The family spends a lot of time in the barn.
    In the evening, we tend to gather in the alley of the barn, sitting in folding chairs, or on buckets. We watch the pigs eat, and we watch them sleep.  When we finally look at our watches, we know its late, and time for us to head to bed ourselves.

  6. Learn from the Mistakes                             
    Last year, my son took lawn mowers for the first time.  There was a driving test and a written test.  He became so confident in driving the course, he bumped the throttle up.  When he bumped up the throttle, his speed increased.  He approached the end of the course with too much speed and knocked off the golf ball from the last post.  That lesson will always be remembered.  Learn from the mistakes so you can do better the next time.  
  7. Celebrate the victories
    Celebrate the victories, no matter how small. The blue ribbon in foods, completing the tractor course. Embrace your kids and tell them you love them and are proud of them.  At the end of the week, when the family packs up the trailer and pick up the projects, you realize how fast the week went at the fair.  Take those victories and apply them to the next year.

This post is sponsored by the Glass Barn, funded by Indiana Soybean Farmers, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Crystal Kellner


Unknown said...

My grandkids in 4-H in Santa Barbara county, CA dress in the full whites with green scarf and hat. hmmm. Lot of time spent cleaning and pressing those as well. Mark in CA

Crystal Kellner said...

Mark, thank you for taking time to read this post about 4-H. It is interesting to learn about 4-H in other states. Good Luck to your grandkids!