There’s a Future

by John Hawkins

Last week was the 75th Cherokee County Jr. Livestock show, which is a lot in itself, however the real stars of this show is all those that work so hard to make it happen every year. The volunteers that contribute their time and energy, the sponsors that support this endeavor, the parents that stand by an encourage their children and of course the kids that baby and nurture their projects throughout the year.

As I wandered through the facility with all the projects from rabbits, chickens, hogs, lambs, goats and cows, calves and steers, I saw these kids washing, trimming, grooming, feeding and watering their animals. Mostly I saw how these youngsters showed responsibility in caring for the animals and the genuine love that each one had for their project or in many cases projects.

The various ag mechanic projects looked like they could have been professionally made, once again showing the talent these young people have as they prepare for the future, possibly in a trade. The welding or woodwork showcased their attention to detail and their creativity, and also the hard work in accomplishing something they could be proud of.

I also was fascinated by the parents participation with their children, by encouraging, teaching, supporting, and guiding them along the way. Every one of these kid’s projects were definitely a family affair culminating with not only this show, but many others as well. Long drives to Houston, Ft. Worth or San Antonio, transporting kids, animals, parents, feed and water long distances.

Probably the one thing that stood out for me was how polite and well mannered every kid was. Far from the typical “Walmart” type kids, these showed respect and courtesy to their elders.

Finally, was the camaraderie all the participants demonstrated. Kids being kids, horsing (no pun intended) around, laughing and enjoying the kinship with the other kids from other schools that share their same passion for agriculture.

I think if every school and every student in America were able to participate in 4-H or FFA and learn what responsibility really meant, many of the standard opinions and stereotypes about the latest generation would be dispelled. If every parent would take the time to be as involved in their children’s education and life, as the parents of these “livestock” kids are, perhaps school dropout rates, drug abuse and disrespect for their fellow man would decline.

As I look back at the past week, I see hope for the future. A future that will be difficult with technology that is evolving faster than most of us can comprehend. A future where feeding a hungry world will become almost a crisis, but also a future with dedicated young people that will hopefully pick up the mantle and step in where and when they are needed.

The annual Cherokee County Jr. Livestock Show is a huge undertaking involving so many different components to make it happen but every year but they driving force of all of it is the kids.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that Aaron Low, Bart Bauer and others always starts the ball rolling planning for next year, probably beginning the next year’s has ended.

So to the kids, parents and grandparents, sponsors, volunteers and everyone else involved, thank you! Thank you for this future you’re giving the rest of us. We can rest assured!