Last night I went to my first sheep show. Maybe my last one, too. I didn’t “mean” to go. You know how those things happen. Hubby, “Isaac and the girls have their last sheep show of the season tonight”….Me…..”Oh, really.” Silence for a while. Me….”What do kids really learn from doing this?” Hubby, now looking shocked at my question, “Huge responsibility. They commit to being responsible for the lives of these animals…” He then went on to describe to me his experience in FFA and all that he learned from raising hogs. Responsibility, commitment, competitiveness, integrity, finance, health. I finally gave in and said the appropriate words, “Sooooo, you wanna go?” And an hour and a half later, I was at the Tulsa Fairgrounds with my boots on walking oh so carefully so that I did not step in something! It was quite the learning experience. See for yourself:
This is Isaac. He won in his last show. We didn’t get to stay late enough to see how he placed last night, but he was so proud of his sheep ~
Madeline and Lizzie, sister lambs AND sisters. Both placed and did awesome!
I watched with my own eyes last night, the hard work of these young animal owners. They loved and cared for their sheep AND they were knowledgable of the animal and the program. Their parents and siblings were at the show and very supportive; they were sincere in all that they did. They each thanked us for coming to their show. My husband was right, there is a lot more than meets the eye to raising animals.
There is a sad p.s. to this story. After Isaac, the young man pictured above, arrived home last night, one of his mama sheep had lost three babies attempting to give birth. As I write this, Isaac is out in barn with the mama, rubbing her legs and face, trying to comfort her, knowing that she will probably not make it through the morning. I think back to my question last night, “What do these kids really learn?” Isaac is a little boy. He should be out riding a bike or playing a video game, but he is doing what his heart knows he should do…..and it’s breaking his. Good job, Isaac. You are quite the young man.
Hi Paula! That’s cool that you went to a show. I was in FFA for a couple of years in high school after we moved to Tuttle. I was in band in Texas and after we moved to Oklahoma, my family encouraged me to be in FFA. I learned some good skills and I did show animals, but I didn’t get as involved as my sisters did in it, probably because I wasn’t there as long, given that we moved to Tuttle my sophomore year of high school. My first experiences with animals were actually pretty rough; my first pig died unexpectedly and one of my first two sheep did also! That upset me a lot 😦 After I graduated high school, I did enjoy going to see my sisters show animals. It’s quite an experience. I think it teaches good skills to kids that are involved in it from a young age, gives them a place to belong, and keeps them out of trouble, too. I went to the stockyards in Orange County a few weeks ago and got to see some farm animals, it brought back memories! 🙂 We used to visit the Fort Worth stockyards once a year when I was a kid! Oh BTW, I got the package you sent me from the contest! Loved it, thank you so much!
Well it is awesome to hear that you still love what you learned in FFA. Leaves don’t fall far from the tree, for sure. Thanks for letting me know your package arrived. ♥
Paula, a very heartwarming story!! You are right, there are many life lessons these kids learn that will help and inspire them throughout adulthood!! I learned so much going to the livestock shows with my granddaughters!! Much work and love goes into every phase of raising, training and showing the animals and many tears shed when they go to the sale!! **Holly, certainly enjoyed reading about your FFA memories!! I remember exactly what your little lamb looked like and how sad you were to lose her!! So glad you still have such a love for animals!! 🙂
Paula, I love this blog and reading all your stories!! I think you have a gift for writing as does sweet Holly!! She will have to share the little book she has written about “Petey the Penguin”. I am always after her to try and get it published. She also illustrated it “beautifully” ❤
Dottie ~ thanks for your sweet and encouraging words. And now I REALLY want to see/read Holly’s book! I have read her blog and she is amazing. (Just like her g-ma Dottie)
Thanks Paula…you are too sweet!! I agree Holly is an amazing young woman with a bright future ahead of her!!
I feel so bad for Isaac!! A sad and tragic thing for a young man to face! The sheep in the picture looks like a winner!!
Isaac ended up getting 2nd. He was good with that! Yay for him!
I know…..this has been a rough weekend for Isaac and his family.
Holly is amazing, for sure.!
That was an awesome story. Being a photojournalist on a town with a very active FFA program, I have been to many sheep shows, bonus auctions and other shows. I have watched senior members all the way down to children smaller than their charges show off their animals that are more than just pets. The seriousness and the way they showed their animals always amazed me.
Thanks for reminding how special and important this program is. Also, my heart breaks for young Isaac at the loss of his sheep.
Darla ~ it really was amazing to actually see the seriousness and the responsibility these kids had with their animals and in this program. What better life prep could they possibly get?
Paula, I *knew* there was a reason that I liked Marvin, besides the fact he roots for the right university –my time spent in FFA was probably second in importance only to time growing up in church. I owe so many life skills and “lessons learned” to FFA, not just related to raising animals, but public speaking, leadership, how to run/manage a meeting, record keeping, budgeting, teamwork, evaluation, and reasoning… the list goes on and on. Thanks for writing this blog and especially for writing this story. Kids like Isaac, Madeline, and Lizzie give me hope for the future of this state and country after all!
You words sound so much like Marvin. He said FFA is why he is responsible and why he gets up to go to work every morning….even on those days he’d rather not. As we observed the judging, he tried to explain the “reasons” that were being given and told about the judging contests he participated in. I grew up in a small town along side FFA, but I was in the band, speech club and FHA. ( Though I must say, when we were marching in the parades, we were always behind the horses, so I STILL had to watch my step!) Appreciate your input and your passion!
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