Yesterday I was at a stock show. I saw show halters, combs, and nervous exhibitors. I saw pump sprayers, show sticks, and game faces. I saw shampoos, adhesives, blankets, blowers, fans, showboxes, chutes, stands, and fitting mats. I also saw high-five’s, handshakes, slaps on the back, smiles, and hugs. And my favorite scene? As a swine exhibitor returned to the pens after his class, his friends made a human tunnel in the aisle for him to walk through with his pig.
Oh, sure, there was intense competition going on, no doubt about it, but there was also an encouraging community present – exhibitors congratulating one another, kids cheering for one another, and families helping one another.
It’s a unique community. Youth are building leadership skills, growing their character, and preparing for careers. Working with others to set goals and accomplish them is critical to success and fulfillment. Celebrating the wins – small and big, yours and others’ – is important to thriving beyond the daily grind. You can witness all of this at a stock show.
What do you see when you walk into a stock show? You can choose your focus. Do you swear it’s all about politics? Are you focused on the high-priced animals or drawn into the rumors of cheating? Do you love the drama you think you see or do you choose to focus on the celebration of youth who are learning valuable lessons, enjoying serious competition, and creating lasting relationships? I know which perspective is more enjoyable.
Choose your perspective. Nothing is ever perfect, but I choose to see an amazing community. I choose to be inspired.
Marlene Eick is a storyteller and coach. As co-owner of Herdmark Media, she helps businesses in agriculture tell their story. As a leadership and career coach, she helps people discover the stories within themselves.
Thank you to Ohio’s Country Journal for the image from the 2016 Ohio State Fair.