Moms and dads are supposed to help their kids.
Controversy has surrounded fairs for as long as we can remember, and maybe since beginning of 4-H and FFA members’ involvement in them, about parents helping their children with projects. Fair books, containing rules and guidelines for participation,
in many cases demand that “all work with projects must be done by the exhibitor.”
Our contact with this has related mostly to livestock endeavors, but it certainly can pertain to anything dealing with youth activities. Initially, there might appear to be merit in that rule. Some parents do everything for the livestock from feeding to grooming to leading it to ringside and handing the shank to their child. No, that’s not right.
On the opposite end of the scenario is the first year or pre-teenaged member who is exhilarated about doing everything they can to care for their projects. However, they are too young and inexperienced to do all of the work themselves. Besides, they don’t have the knowledge or ability until they’ve had guidance and education for the task.
Parents are the best ones to help their children learn how to do manage livestock. With so many problems in the world, and parents being with their children so little, due to job and activity conflicts, family working together on projects is one step toward improving our society. It should be commended, instead of condemning such effort.
By the time a youth becomes a teenager, bulk of the work should be done by the member. Those who call in professional assistance or still expect a parent to have a brush or water bucket in hand every second might deserve a reprimand.
Controversy seems to arise most often when assistance has been provided to the exhibitor who has the prize winner. Everybody wants to win, and complaints are sometimes aired: “He didn’t do the work; his parents did.” We seldom see that.
More often than not, by the time an exhibitor has been involved in project work for more than half of their life, they know as much and in some cases more than their parents about preparing and showing livestock. Many often prefer to have no assistance.
Yet, even if denied outwardly, the teenagers do like to have parents nearby for last minute guidance, and mostly approval and encouragement: “Your calf looks great.”
There’s nothing like camaraderie between a boy or girl and their mom and dad. If only this were the norm, just think how much better off everybody in the world would be.
Sound directions are given in Second Corinthians 12:14: “For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.” Importance of fairness is cited by Jesus in Saint Matthew 7:12: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
One must remember First Timothy 5:4: “Let children learn first to show goodness at home for their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.” Thus, the order in Ephesians 6:1: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.”