These days. These are the days why we brave the Minnesota winters. Let’s not even talk about school being 4 weeks away.
It’s fair week. I know the county fair means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but to me, it is a celebration of rural living.
Sometimes, I forget to celebrate because I am reminding my child for the third time this week that if the heifer halter isn’t where he expects it to be, that he will need to look until he finds it. Sometimes, I forget to celebrate because the 4-H office just sent their 18th email of the month and I can’t bear to read another one.
Let me tell you why a 4-H parent keeps marching on…4-H affords us the opportunity to be the kind of parent we want to be.
A hands-on parent.
Trust me, I promote “free play” as much as the next mom and I agree with all the research that says how important it is to a child’s development. I also appreciate organized activities like sports or music lessons. HOWEVER, I love the ways in which 4-H brings me really close and working right beside my kids.
There’s so much to preparing animals for the fair that a parent must do when your oldest is just 10. However, it is done more easily with a child’s help.
Vince has never given a chicken a bath before or clipped toenails, so we needed to work together. It was quite the sight, by the way. Put “give a chicken a bath” on your bucket list. It requires 3 buckets and some gentle dunking.
Over the course of the summer, my children have progressed so much in the amount of care they can give to the animals with needing less help from me day by day. They still need my help some, but we are working side by side. That’s what I love about 4-H.
In 5 or 6 years, Vince will lead the way. I will be cheering from the background as he teaches Violet how to rinse out a calf bottle and Liv how to clip her heifer. He and Ava will be building an enclosure that can contain our goats. That’s 4-H.
So, these days — they are the best days. This is what I had hoped parenting would be like. Bring on the county fair.