Livestock Lesson--What Picking Out a Show Pig Teaches a Kid
Once again, there are pigs in the building...or barn that is. We picked up two gilts from See Farms, and are so excited. I mean just look at that face!
Picking out livestock is always a learning experience. As the boys have gotten older, I have tried to give them more responsibilities with their show animals. So, this year, I decided to give them a little more freedom in picking out their show pigs. I had already picked the two I thought were the best, but I told them they could look around and see if there was something they liked better.
They'd stare at the pen full of pigs, and discuss between themselves what they thought. Then, they'd point out one to me. I always ask them why. Why that one? Shrugged shoulders and "I don't knows" are not an option. They also know that the pigs color or cute factor doesn't qualify as a solid reason either. After they give me their reasons, I'll say what I think. They also made sure to get Garrett and Dr. See's opinion as well. We would all point out different pros and cons to the various pigs.
After much deliberation, they decided to go with the two pigs I had originally picked out, but they had reasons for picking them now too.
When we got home, they asked me questions about the good and bad parts of their pigs. I love that they are asking questions, and growing in their skills, knowledge, and responsibilities. They are doing more chores than ever, and make an effort to research about their projects.
They haven't mastered it all yet, but I love how they are always looking to learn more. Showing livestock isn't just about the ribbons; it's about the lessons. Even if they don't judge livestock in the future, they have learned to analyze a situation, reasearch, ask questions, and seek advice. And, that I think is more important than picking a good pig to win (although we are confident that we picked some good ones).
Most livestock lessons don't happen in the ring. They happen beforehand...in the barns and homes of the stock show families. Those lessons made me into who I am today, and they continue to impact kids all over.
I can't wait to see what lessons they boys will learn with their new pigs--Violet and Chickadee.