Quality family time can be spent during livestock shows

Healthy families keep a good balance between "too much" and "not enough" time together, they spend enough time together to satisfy all family members.

Showing season recently ended in my household. What does showing season mean? In my house we raise club goats and my children spend most weekends during the summer showing goats throughout Michigan. Some people may ask, “Why would parents allow their children to get involved in this showing stuff?” As a 10 year 4-H member, I knew that having my children involved in 4-H and/or Future Farmers of America (FFA) and raising and showing livestock would be very important to our family.

My children have been around livestock their entire lives. They go out to the barn and help wipe the newborn goats clean, feed the does, fix fence, etc. However, only the last few years have we been involved in the goat show circuit. In this show circuit, youth ages 7 to 21 competitively show. There will also be a pee-wee show for anyone age 6 and under. This is the second year showing the circuit for my 9 year old son.

I have noticed a few things since we began traveling the circuit. First, we make the showing a family affair. We all go to the show and everyone helps get the animals ready. This fits true for all the families that come to the shows every weekend. Second, the families that come to the shows have all become part of a larger show family. We have a good time talking, spending time with our children and helping one another. Third, many life lessons have been taught to my children. This summer my son’s goat got a fungus and he was unable to show him. He could only show his doe. The other lesson he learned this summer was that the more information you know about your animal the better chance you have to win showmanship.

Some families take a vacation or go camping, our family shows animals. One thing I have learned is that a family that does things together stays together. Healthy families keep a good balance between “too much” and “not enough” time together. They spend enough time to satisfy all family members. Children learn to bring balance to their lives when they see their parents setting aside time for what they value.

If you’re wondering if you spend enough time with your child/children, view the worksheet from Michigan State University Extension’s Building Strong Adolescent program, which can help you determine if you’re spending enough time with your child/children.

Our family has a great time spending our Saturday’s traveling to the next show, setting up the tent, cooking food and mixing goats with great friends and our new found goat showing family!

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