Saturday, July 10, 2010

Too Much of A Good Thing

     I am so looking forward to sanity again.  Our children have 15 projects between the two of them.  My daughter is taking consumer clothing, food preservation, food preparation, sewing, photography, wearable arts, personality, goats and swine.  She is obviously a first year member, whose mother went temporarily insane and missed the add/drop deadline!  Her brother is in his third year and is only in six projects.  He takes aerospace, black and white photography, vet science, computers, goats, and swine.  They loved doing their projects.  I enjoyed helping.  What we didn't enjoy was their project books.  In recent years I have noticed a decline in 4-H participation.  When you go to the fair and look at the projects please understand there is so much more then just the projects.  The children are to fill out these in depth and extensive project manuals.  Now, I remember project manuals.  They were reference books.  If you didn't understand how to do something, it was explained in your project manual.  Now, these kids have 4-H "homework".  Extensive  and labor intensive 4-H homework.  The fun is taken out of preparing a project, turning it in and seeing what ribbon you got.  The days of kids taking 20 projects a piece is long gone.  Unless they are gluttons for punishment, like my daughter who LOVES workbooks.  Kids, like my son, are more apt to sign up for a root canal.  That would be so much less time consuming and painful.  After they spend hours doing these books a project helper briefly scans their works.  So yes, they must complete their books.  I have heard former 4-H members, like myself, discuss the decline in interest in such a wonderful program.  Although these books are well done and the activities are fun, the kids just don't have time to complete them.  We start our books, generally, when we get them.  Then we do an activity or two until two weeks or a month before fair.  I then find myself gather supplies, running to various locations, and spending lots of money to complete something we as kids didn't have to do.  We have entered a 4-H "heck" as we call it around here!  We, as kids, still got the same great experiences, learned a lot, and most importantly made life-long friends and memories.  Why is it we feel the need to kill a great experience through OVER education.  We do this in everything these days.  Our son Bobby likes baseball.  He may show a special talent or aptitude.  So, of course we put him on travel teams, put him in clinics, pay for special lessons with an "expert, sign him up for tournaments EVERY weekend, and zap his childhood and their love for the sport.  Sally shows an interest in cheerleading, gymnastics, or dance and we do the same thing to her.  The kids who don't make the elite teams drop out and give up.  They deem themselves as not good enough.  They loose the chance to have fun just playing the game.  We wonder why it is hard to get volunteers for activities!  Well, we do the same thing to parents.  Coaching clinics, trained and certified, all terms that now accompany coaching your six year old's soccer team.  Competition and the need to exceed are killing fun summer time experiences.  We are beating our kids with an educational stick.  We are controlling every aspect and every moment of their childhood.  Making a fort, playing cowboys and Indians, having a tea party all things of the past.  Well, unless you buy them the special kit for their birthday.  I am guilty.  I admit it.  I have bowed to societies expectations.  I am sure I need to do something about this.  Unfortunately, I am too over scheduled, committed, and busy to figure out what to drop!  Thank you for reading...I will now step off of my soap box.  Have a relaxing weekend whichever ball field, competition, or all inclusive resort you may be at! 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Farmer's Market

It looks like today may be the first time we make it to the farmers' market.  I am anxious and excited to share the fresh products we have been producing with friends, family and my community.  We are hoping to make a little extra cash for the county fair coming up.  I am hoping you will all say a prayer for us.  We are hopeful that it goes well and that the kids won't be disappointed.  They have been anxiously anticipating selling things all summer.  Stop by and visit us in Greensburg, Indiana if you are in the area.  The hours are 2:00-6:00 every Friday throughout the summer and into early fall.  We are hoping to have bread, freshly ground flour, cookies, and cinnamon rolls!!!  Wish us luck!!! 
By the way, sorry post have slowed down.  We are still in the throws of 4-H madness!!! ;)  I hope to be a more faithful blogger in a couple weeks!! :)  Thanks for reading!!!