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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Letter to my 4-H Kids

Before I had kids of my own, I had some parents trust me enough to help guide their kids through some 4-H projects and even take their kids to the Kansas State Fair to show cattle.  I will never understand why these 4-H'ers and others saw me as a role model or inspiration.  I have been shocked over the years when 4-H'ers have said that they never would have tried a new leadership role or project without my encouragement.  Most of the time I don't remember saying anything to them. -KFM

To my 4-H Sons and Daughters,

Some of you I gave birth to and some have parents who have let me help lead you in your 4-H lives.  Each year, I am the one that is the most critical of everything you do.  I am the one that pushed you beyond where you wanted to go.  I have been the one suggesting you try a new project or contest and I try to help you with the rules. 

While others might have been happy to see you give one project talk at a club meeting, I have pushed you to perfect a speech for competition and encouraged you to perform it beyond the 4-H Club walls.  Even when you wouldn’t give your talk to your own parents, you received top blues and I saw all of your confidence and self-esteem rise.  It was nothing I did…that talent was locked inside of you just waiting for you to let it out.
While you were perfectly happy with only livestock projects, I have pushed you to take other projects.  You have become amazing bakers…all of you.  Why do I think you need to take the foods project?  All of us have to eat every day, shouldn’t you know how your food is prepared?  All of your husbands and wives can thank me some day.
Why have I done all of this?
I saw locked inside those shy girls and rambunctious boys that there was untapped potential.   Potential that will make you GREAT adults someday.  Potential that your parents could see, but didn’t know how to get you to use.  Why you trusted me enough to let me push you beyond your comfortable limits, I will never understand, but I do know that you have made me a better person because of it.  I know that my 4-H sons that I did give birth to will someday thank you (I think).
Did you know you have helped me?
All of you have pushed me to help you find the crafts that can get top honors.  I never knew how to dry flowers, pour concrete, make jewelry or wheat weave and I have you to thank for that.  You pushed me beyond my comfort zone and made me learn right along with you.
We have learned together over the years.  I have learned that I do sometimes push too much and I need to back off.  My younger kids should thank the older kids and their parents for teaching me this lesson way before they joined 4-H.   You have made me a better parent than I would have been.
While I admit that I am your biggest critic, I will ALWAYS be your biggest fan.  I will be the one that brags to anyone who will listen about you.  I have smiled bigger than you when you win and I have cried with you when things didn’t go right or that special animal had to go. 
We have all became better individuals because of the group I call my 4-H kids.  You have given the younger ones someone to look up to and I think they have pushed you at times when you needed it.  We have all learned from one another.  I thank God that your parents let me be a part of your lives and that you are a part of our family.  My boys have amazing role models and I pray that they become role models to some younger kids as they get older and more experienced.

A 4-H Mom