Family values and lessons through livestock

Family activities instill responsibility, teach patience, hard work, and create memories and lifelong friendships.

In 2011, my husband and I decided that we were going to begin raising meat goats. We wanted our children to be raised around the stock show industry. Raising and showing livestock is so much more than chasing a banner. A good friend of mine, Austin Pueschel said, “Participating in livestock shows is not all about the banners and ribbons. If you choose to, you will see a much bigger picture, one that involves great people and great memories.”

Showing livestock teaches children responsibility. Our children come home from school and have to feed their animals before they eat. They also must walk all of their animals, at a minimum every other day. That is combined with the school sports and other activities that are involved in.

A life lesson our children have been a part of from showing livestock is that to win takes patience and hard work. When we began breeding goats, they were not the best. Our children stood at the bottom of the class. Our entire family has been part of the process to build our herd to where it is today.

Making memories and lifelong friendships is also part of the stock show experience. All of these people understand the hard work and dedication it takes to show animals. The children enjoy the down time by playing cards, corn hole and just having a great time. These lifelong friends are the people that you see six months in between, and you can pick up right where you left off.

One of the biggest lessons of all is learning to take defeat. Everyone in the stock show industry works hard with their animals and when you don’t go home with the grand prize it can be devastating. But if you take the advice of Pueschel, you’ll learn to look around and notice the bigger picture. Our children are surrounded by amazing people and learn valuable lessons.

To learn more about your local Michigan 4-H club or family activities, contact your local Michigan State University Extension.

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