It is very fitting that I write this post today because yesterday (for Pulaski County) was 4-H project entry and judging day and today is Father’s Day. Our son’s had two (only two) projects (besides pigs) to enter yesterday and I still messed it up (and I worked as the 4-H Youth Development Education for 8 years!!)… forgetting our sources for a poster but I had prepared a bag of supplies and was able to whip up a source card and the farm toy scene is hopefully set-up correctly. But this all made me think about my own 4-H memories and experience which brings me to my dad and those who have helped me and continue to help the boys with 4-H.
My dad is a man of very little or few words. For those who know him, unless you are talking tractor pulling or farming (this includes the weather), then you are not going to get much of a conversation out of him. He is normally very quiet, hangs in the back of the room but he is there and listening.
When my siblings and I started taking swine and calves in 4-H my dad and uncle had to help us kids, I was the oldest and first to venture down these paths but also pretty little and I needed help. The swine project, my uncle Robert provided a lot of help and guidance while my dad also helped but it was really when I started showing calves that dad was there each morning/night helping to move them into a cattle shoots, helping get lead ropes on them and helping walk them up and down the lane each night. My grandpa Daily would help us load and take animals to the fair (we sometime took 2-3 trips hauling our animals and helping others get their animals to the fair).
Dad and his siblings were 10 year 4-H members and all four of my siblings completed 10 years of 4-H and now I am watching our own kids show their 4-H animals and projects with help from uncle Robert, their step-dad, and my dad. We could not do 4-H without them. But what 4-H gave me and what it is giving the boys right now is time with their family. It literally takes a village with showing livestock (can I get an amen). The day of the pig show, it is all hands on deck with numerous helpers. A village, 4-H takes a village, I repeat.
4-H not only has and continues to give us time together as a family but also to make memories together of chasing pigs, boys using pig whips as swords, feeding pigs marshmallows, the pride the boys have when they bring their animals to the fair, and the excitement of entering the showring. But at the end of the day, none of this would have happened for myself or our kids if it wasn’t for my dad, uncle Robert and Jeremy. So today, we are so thankful for all of you. For your time, your support and help. To all of those who help support, love and encourage others in their role as a father figure; Today is for you. We are very fortunate to have great father figures in our lives. A blessing to us and many others.
Pigs go to the fair on Saturday, it still takes a village, and Happy Father’s Day!