Lots of things come full circle when you live in the same place for most of your life and are lucky enough for some of your kids to live nearby. And we are doing some circling up this week!
This time, it is all about 4-H, which is all about family and community members.
The Hidalgo Helping Hands club and our leader, Ella Lee, played a huge part in my formative years. Brad's family supported the activity in a big way, as well . His dad led his club and spent hours on it, I'm sure. My parents, mom especially, spent hours supervising our sewing and other projects, making cookies and costumes for Share the Fun, and hauling us all over kingdom come to events. I'm so glad so many adults were willing to give their time, wisdom, and knowledge to help. It was so good for me!
Because of my experiences in 4-H, I learned to....
bake yummy desserts
plan a healthy menu and prepare the meal
create pretty (!) projects with my own two hands and the satisfaction it brings
follow a pattern and sew my own clothes and home decor
make a speech without vomiting from nerves
do a demonstration in front of a large crowd of peers and adults in my county and then at the State Fair
go the extra mile
meet new people and to enjoy camping with a cabin full of squealing girls, first as a camper and then as a counselor
throw in the towel when something is just not my cup of tea....Can you say cattle show?
complete project records
finish what I start (confession: I'm still learning that one!)
invest my adult life in helping others
Our boys were in 4-H, too, but I don't remember that time so fondly. It was a time of STRESS for us as parents. The County fair week was always a very inconvenient time when gobs of things needed done on the farm, and Brad, who was also a banker, was worn completely out.
By the time the 4-H shows rolled around, we had already spent hours of the summer at the ballpark and just wanted to stay home-at least Brad and I did!
I remember flaring tempers because I wouldn't let the boys stay at the fairgrounds 24/7 "like all the other kids" and embarrassment on my part because the other moms all seemed so much more "farm-capable" than I was when we went to take care of the livestock each morning.
Thankfully, our kids remember the good times, not the bad! Now, we all laugh about our fair exploits, especially the year they decided to ditch showing hogs for showing sheep. That pleased me because, come on, white and fluffy and docile.
We were total novices and didn't really bother to read the project manual, so what a shock when the boys led their clean, white, beautiful sheep into the show ring and discovered by looking at the brown, dirty animals around them that sheep aren't supposed to be washed before the sheep show.
Trust me. There was giggling at our expense that day!
Now, we are on the other side, and it is a JOY to attend the fair and see all the projects completed by the kids in our county. We don't know the behind-the-scenes angst, so we can clearly see all the benefits of the 4-H program again. Kids are learning amazing things and are capable of SO MUCH besides messing passively with technology.