As I headed back to college, I had the privilege of attending a couple workshops for a campus organization that I am a part of. This organization is based upon community service, but also gives students a chance to step out of their shells and take risks. During one of the collaborative group exercises, we were encouraged to “step up and step out.” The quote threw me off at first. What the heck is that even supposed to mean? They explained that there are two types of people in this world. There are the go getters; when someone asks a question, they’re the first to answer it. When someone asks for opinions, they’re the first to give theirs. Then there are the shy ones; the ones who like to be a fly on the wall and would rather have their teeth ripped out than to have to speak in front of a large group of people. After this explanation, they encouraged the go getters to step back for a second, let others have a turn to share their opinions, and support the shy ones. In turn, the shy ones were encouraged to speak up and go a little bit beyond their boundaries. Though this exercise took no more than 10 minutes, the quote really stuck with me.
I am five years older than my sister, so I was always her role model when it came to our livestock. And because I had been doing things without her for five years, I was a little overbearing when it came to just about everything. “You’re prepping feed too slow,” or “that’s not the way you should blow the hair.” And when it came to important decisions regarding our stock, or filling out entries, I was always the one to step up and she was always the one to step back. Once I left for school, everything was suddenly dumped into her lap and things were a hot mess. Entries weren’t getting filled out, the barn was in shambles. At first I was angry, because I thought she should have known better. It wasn’t until I heard this quote that I realized that my “stepping back” moment was long overdue, and it left her with a mound of responsibility that I hadn’t properly prepared her for. Mistakes are one of the biggest ways that a stock show kid can learn and grow. By stepping back, you allow this. But if you constantly nit pick at everything or do everything for them, you’ll leave that kid at a huge disadvantage in the future. Whether you’re an older sibling, a parent, a leader, or an advisor, I urge you to step back before it’s too late.
“Doing what I love, loving what I do,” is the quote that I base my life upon. Inspired by my grandfather, I strive to be a service-minded individual in both the stock show and agriculture industries. Growing up you could find me in the barns with my lambs and goats, serving as an officer for my FFA chapter, or playing badminton! Though my hometown is in Sonoma County, California I am currently living in Chico, California as I pursue a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science and a teaching credential in Agriculture Education. I look forward to the next year guest blogging for Weaver Leather Livestock and am so grateful for the opportunity!
Photo Credits: Stephanie Hopkins Photography