Last year was our first time to show at a Texas major livestock show. I've got a 7-year-old red-headed boy who leads around an equally adorable mini-Hereford steer named Ben.
At the show, people kept commenting on our duo of boy and calf. One morning, a show worker came up the fence to talk. He was in awe. "How old is that boy? How big is that cow? That boy is so strong, there is nothing he won't be able to do!" I asked if he'd like to pet Ben. "Miss, I've never seen a cow until this week, and you're crazy if you think I'm touching that thing!"
An older man stopped and remembered his grandfather having cattle. "Look at this kid," he said. "He is not playing video games or watching the phone, or any of the other junk kids do too much of nowadays. He is working. He is learning responsibility."
The last day of the show, I observed several stock show families in the street taking turns roping each other. Everyone was laughing and hollering and having a blast. One of the gate attendants was taking it all in. I told him, "I guess it's just what we small-town folks do for fun." He responded, "Look at you all, out here together with your kids, working hard, making memories. You're living the good life."
It can be easy to get discouraged as a stock show parent. Heck, the price of feed can do that. I sometimes even wonder if we really are teaching our kids valuable lessons through these projects.
But, seeing the stock show and our involvement through the eyes of others -- people who do not always understand but recognize the positives -- was a gift for me. And, a reminder that, yes, we really are living the good life.
Tiffany Dowell Lashmet balances family, farm, showing livestock and a career in ag law from the Texas Panhandle. Follow her blog at https://alwaysafarmkid.com/…, on Instagram alwaysafarmkid and Twitter @TiffDowell.
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