If you show, you probably love trophies and banners. Actually, even athletes, scholars and artists love trophies and banners. Who doesn’t? It is pretty hard to resist that shiny hardware and colorful embroidery.
In fact, the trophies and banners that I won (not many) are proudly displayed in our basement, in boxes. OK, so they aren’t really displayed, but that is my point here. At the moment that I won those awards, I don’t think I could have felt any more proud. I was so excited that someone else acknowledged my hard work and determination. That is what I needed: acknowledgement.
That is what kids seek. As parents and mentors we need to give them that. Now, I’m not talking about telling them “Good job” when they walk out of the ring. I mean acknowledging the work that they do every day. When they do something extra in the barn or out of the ordinary chores that are expected of them, that is what we need to notice. We need to encourage them to continue to work every day and show them that we see it.
Kids can sense if you are being genuine or not. If they do something good, acknowledge it. Make it a moment.
Sure, banners and trophies are great and so are the feelings that come from the moments when they are won. But trust me when I say that kids will cherish the moments that an important person like a parent, relative or friend genuinely acknowledges something that they put in time and effort to accomplish. Do we do it for the banners, or the moments?
Most people that work with Jeremy Evans at Dover Middle School in Dover, Ohio think Jeremy is a farmer. He prefers the term “Agriculture Enthusiast” because 8 acres and 5 head of cattle doesn’t exactly make a farm. When he is not grading papers or changing apostrophes that don’t belong in plural nouns, he enjoys feeding his son’s (Barrett, Brady, Blaine) steers, but not writing the checks for the feed. His wife Michelle is also a teacher at Dover City Schools and he considers his greatest accomplishment in life the fact that he converted his wife from a “horse person” to a “cow person” as evidenced by the fluffer comb in the back pocket of her ski pants at shows.