Monday, April 17, 2017

Red Ribbons: Growth and Lessons

The Farm Manager
hung his head as he was handed a red ribbon.
Tears welled in his eyes careful not to let any fall because there is no crying in the show ring.
He tucked the ribbon in his back pocket where so many other ribbons had been that day.
He lead, TJ, his 160 pound sheep back to its pen closed and locked the gate as tears began to rolled down his pink cheeks.
He had never been handed a red ribbon.
The judge told the kids that morning
"If your lamb gets away it is an automatic red"

Just as he was entered the ring TJ bolted and he just couldn't hang on
He persisted
 TJ got away a couple more times, but
he never gave up and he showed his heart out.

What the sheep judge didn't know was that he had already

Showed his steer twice
1st blue and purple in his class
Grand Champion Novice/Junior showman
The Beef Judge told the crowd
"He had the eye of the tiger as soon as he entered the ring"

Showed his meat goat twice
1st blue and purple in his class
Reserve Grand Champion Novice/Junior showman

None of that matters though.
New judge, new ring, new rules.

He worked with that sheep as much as he did his steer and heifer.
They walked up and down our driveway what seemed like a million times.
TJ would follow behind him on a slack halter with no trouble.
They worked on bracing stretched out legs and how to show a nice straight back.
They were great teammates, but
it just wasn't their day.

I hugged him while he cried trying not to cry myself.
He was exhausted, frustrated and disappointed.
He told me 
"I'm not keeping this ribbon... after fair I am throwing it away"
as he hung it on the banner above his sheep pen.
I told him he would be keeping it, to dry his tears and to go congratulate the 
Grand Champion sheep showman.
In our house we teach our kids how to win with grace and how to lose with grace.

Fair for us only left the auction.

Because an auction buyer watched the sheep show and saw his tenacity in the show ring
he got a great price for TJ.
$10.00 a pound.
The man sought us out and told us that the reason he bought TJ was because of The Farm Managers composure and keeping at it during the show.
 Never give up.

That red ribbon is now proudly displayed in his room with all of his other various colored ribbons.
I am equally as proud of that red ribbon as I am of all the other ones hanging in his room.
I know what is behind those ribbons.
The hours of halter breaking, the thousands of pounds of manure scooped, the dollars HE spends buying his animals as well as all their food, the discussions he has with his dad when looking at a calf to buy, the miles driven to pick up animals, the arguing over chores, the millions of steps walked up and down our driveway, the pen building and so much more

when you enter the show ring
it just isn't
your or your animals
Everyone has goals to win blues and purples and our kids are no exception,
but growth comes in hard places, tough shows and sometimes being handed a red ribbon.

Blessed Is Me....


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