This past week our youngest son showed his broiler project at the county fair. The kids have always had livestock to take care of and raise so this is nothing new. Well Brady would say its new to him because his big sister is away at college and its all on him. We usually raise a swine project for the fair and registered heifers for all the major stock shows, but this year we decided to go for chickens. Our oldest raised birds for the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo and always did well but it was always cooler weather. The broiler project lasts about 6 weeks and is pretty intense. This was a make or break time for little brother because he would rather play with the airsoft gun or disappear when it came time for work. We decided to have a trial run to see if we would continue with animals. The kids will tell you having an ag teacher for a father makes it harder on them because it isn’t “Father feeds animals”. They both have always been required to do the work. We do come alongside and help, but it has to come from them. This year I was really worried because the youngest being the “baby of the family” likes to skirt his chores but I see now he can rise to the occasion. Every morning the alarm went off at 5:00. He would go outside and change waterers and feed the chickens, and feed the heifers. There were many mornings I swear he was sleep walking. The afternoons were spent at the barn as well, not on the Xbox or tv. He wasn’t always happy about it, and I heard several evenings of fussing going on because he LOVES to play around (did I say he was 13). This year all his hard work payed off, and I know some positive lessons were learned.
1. Hard work pays off
2. It isn’t always fun
3. Life depends upon me
4. Even if you don’t want to and your tired, responsibilities are still there.
5. Family will always be there for you.
I watched my nephews learn the same thing with their projects and they faced adversity of a different kind. They learned it doesn’t always turn out good, but they can hold their heads up knowing they worked hard and they have next year.
I’m sure there are several other lessons learned, but we know as parents for a fact that 4-h, and FFA is raising a generation of kids that understand the principles that build character!