Push, nudge, encourage maybe even bribe. If you have kids that show livestock, you have had to do one of these at some point. Let’s be honest, a very small percentage of youth in America show livestock. That notion to step in the ring had to come from somewhere and it was most likely you. A parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or even a neighbor suggested a livestock project to you or your kids. A push is all they needed.
But the same family and friends can be pushy too.
I speak from experience. When I aged out of 4-H, I thought I knew a whole lot about showing and I was raising some show stock to sell to youth. I also had two nieces that were already 4-H age. My brothers approached me about selling steers to them and helping them learn in the ring.
It started off innocently with me giving pointers and taking it slow. But at some point, I don’t know where or when, I got pushy. I pushed them to do things that they really didn’t want to do and probably spend money that they didn’t want to spend.
These two young ladies came out just fine and are very productive members of society now. I am pretty sure that the experience has been more traumatic to me than them, at least I hope.
My point is this. There is a fine line between giving a push and being pushy.
Sometimes we have to push kids to get out of their comfort zone or push them to finish something that they started. If you are pushy, you might be asking a kid to do something that they aren’t ready for yet. I learned from that experience and I hope I am not pushy when it comes to my own kids, but I’m not perfect. Hopefully my wife can help keep me in check and remind me to….
Push, but don’t be pushy.
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.