Practically Ranching

#9 - Jeanne Clawson, Being a Grand Champion 4H Parent

July 20, 2022 Matt Perrier Season 1 Episode 9
Practically Ranching
#9 - Jeanne Clawson, Being a Grand Champion 4H Parent
Show Notes Transcript

Jeanne and David Clawson are farmers and ranchers. They're leaders. They're former 4H'ers and raised their three children in the Kansas 4H program in Meade County.

Join us as we discuss the many values that 4H offers our youth, plus get insight on how to find that balance between "winning at all costs" and "letting the kid sink or swim."

Good luck to all of you involved in 4H during this busy time of year. We wish you all the best.

...now I have to go help the kids clip show steers.

Matt:

Welcome to episode nine of practically ranching. Today I will interview Jeanne Clawson. Jeanne and her husband, David, live in Plains, Kansas, as you're about to find out I had a brain lapse and still had them at their old address in Inglewood. But, uh, they and their family own and operate just an incredible agribusiness in Southwest Kansas, have a ranch in Southeast Kansas, down by a sedan. have a. A few holdings in the panhandles, they farm, they ranch, they dairy, uh, they truly are a, a great diversified ag family. I served with David several years ago and leadership with Kansas livestock association. And, while we were on that officer team, I, I didn't know the Clawson's well being from this end of the state. But I found out pretty quickly that they were more than just leaders in agriculture and they were more than just uh, great agribusiness family down there in Southwest Kansas. They're really thoughtful, intelligent, pretty soft-spoken folks that, wait to be heard, but when they weigh in on something, you can assure yourself that it's going to be a nugget of wisdom that you don't want to miss. And so as we talked more, I found out that they were a very dedicated four H family as well and their kids and nieces and nephews and, and I think several generations have gained a lot from the four H program. So as we embark on this time a year, late July, early August, there's a lot of county fairs going on, at least in Kansas and this region. And so I thought it would be really fun to have Jeannie on, who has served as a club leader and project leader throughout the years for Meade county four H some of you that have a good memory will remember that. Um, on last week's episode was Shawn tiffany, I quoted Jeannie as the one who said that emotions have an IQ of zero. And, after I said that, I thought, you know what? I, I think I need to get Jeanne on this podcast. And so here she is. I hope you enjoy this wisdom that she has to offer. And I also hope that if you are going to a county fair here in the next few weeks, I hope your kids get a purple ribbon. Uh, I hope they get some blue ribbons and at least enough that make them want to come back and compete again next year. But, um, I also kind of hope that yours and mine as well, get a few reds, uh, maybe even a white and keep them humble and keep them hungry. And an interested in making the best better as we say in four H so a. Let's get started with episode nine. We're going to call this the grand champion four H parent. Well, welcome on today's episode of practically ranching, Our guest hails from englewood Kansas. Jeanne Clawson is with us today and Jeanne you'd be let's see north and a little west of Englewood and south and middle east of Mead is that close?

Jeanne:

Uh, yes, that would be close actually though, we moved to Plains last Thanksgiving but but we still are involved at

Matt:

That's right... david had told me that you all had moved up to planes but I I just forgot. Here we are in last minute county fair mode. Actually The kids have their first contest Their horse show is this evening and so they're putting some finishing touches on horses and cleaning up tack and getting ready for the county fair And I know a lot of our listeners across the region and nation probably are in the same mode of last minute preparation, And so I wanted to have you on today to talk a little bit about the best way to lead Youth and parent youth and specifically maybe this time of year 4H youth and and give them some leadership and help them get those projects ready throughout the year And and how that works into not just Parenting but also leadership So if you would give us a little feel for your family Jeanne and then uh maybe where your kids are today and then talk a little bit about your and their involvement in the four H program

Jeanne:

well thanks for having me, Um I grew up in four H as well as did David, and and then um we have three children uh lane Anne and Carl, uh, lane is now a pilot in the air force. Anne is the employee relations manager for the Cheddar's brands in the Darden corporation and then Carl is working with us on our farm and ranch. They all did four H just like we did And We're involved each one in multiple projects all of them did beef and cooking then the boys kind of veered off and did rocketry and woodworking and leadership and citizenship. And then Anne did some of the more home EC stuff the sewing and the crocheting but also she did leadership and citizenship projects as well. I I feel like it served them all really well in uh their future endeavors, and they're succeeding in their own right. In the fields they're in right now.

Matt:

Good. Good. So in addition to the obvious parts of making sure that they get projects worked on and completed and helping guide that and record books and not all that, what other ...what other leadership positions, I mean were you project leader club leader when they were involved in four H?

Jeanne:

I don't remember which year I became a club leader. When the kids first got involved in four H there was some other leaders. In, as they retired from those positions, I ended up in the position of club leader for a number of years had some great co-leaders with me. And then I have seems like eternally been the project leader for crochet through the whole county of. And then I guess Carl ended up being the fishing leader. So of course I was the one kind of pushing him from Students to do that. And lane was also the shooting sports leader both of those projects I knew nothing about. So I felt like I learned right along with them.

Matt:

Well I think that's the nice thing about the four H program and really one could say any for any youth program that uh, quite often, even though we're trying Be exemplary and provide some leadership. I know, I learn a lot about projects, maybe that I thought I did know something about And when I start attending meetings with the kids or going through online courses or whatever the case may be, or just getting a refresher um, I I sometimes think I learn more about the project even than than maybe they do So it's it's good for parents And kids alike I know,

Jeanne:

I noticed a lot with my kids Came out very clearly when we were doing record books, cuz they would've gone through all the, I would've been with them at a lot of the activities and I'll say, what did you learn there and it was a, you almost had to help them understand what it is they learned. They did learn it but they maybe had couldn't formalize it into words until we started doing our record books

Matt:

So that brings up a question for me and I'm gonna throw myself under the bus. Um, but I'm gonna ask you first ...when did the Clawson kids start their record books

Jeanne:

you can throw me under the bus, too Um

Matt:

I'm glad I wasn't the only one growing up.

Jeanne:

um, I mean, I actually I did not make the kids write down a calendar but I tried to keep it pretty um, detailed calendar of the things they had done and then, and then a lot of times we'd start the record books after after the fair And when I was growing up my experience was very different and I always thought that I would make my kids do their things different because when I was growing up, um, we, we had to have our record books as completed as possible before the fair And they were judged They were judged before the fair if you didn't get and at I grew up in Colorado so it might have been organized a little bit different but um, if I didn't get blue ribbon or better on my record book I could not place. Better than that in the fair.

Matt:

Wow. That's hardcore

Jeanne:

yeah, we had, we had to get 'em done and that was I always intended to do that with our children, but I didn't accomplish that.

Matt:

Well, I'm glad rest assured that you're not alone Um I would say that everyone is nodding their head. Who's listening to this. If you're not nodding your head, that you did the record books after including setting the goals.

Jeanne:

the goals. Yes.

Matt:

I got to K state before I realized. In some leadership course or club or something, they were talking about goal proper goal setting. I didn't know you were supposed to do the goals before you actually finished whatever job or project it was. And I'm sure bill Riley and everybody else that would be at the helm of four H when I was growing up is embarrassed that, uh, that Matt Perry abused the four H uh protocols like he did but I don't think any of us were alone that yeah come, come August 1st. After you wrapped up the, the fun part, it was a mad dash to September whatever to get the record books started, finished and submitted. And, I don't know, you know, the. It's good to do that process Um I don't always say that colorado has things figured out better than kansas but in in this case, that incentive to say you don't get to compete if you haven't started and gotten your record books up to this point. And then all you have to do is fill out how you did it's fair and and that's probably the more proper chronology that's interesting

Jeanne:

There are I know at least one county that requires the kids to turn in the record books for them to even exhibit at the fair. and, I've judged those record books in that county and a lot of the kids do just the bare minimums to say it's done but then there were those that had 'em all all done which was really great.

Matt:

And that was in Kansas, the county that you're well that would be one way to incentivize doing them. But like you said, it may not be the way that you get the record books done to the level or to the quality that, that they're supposed to be But that's interesting. So you talked about pushing and prodding a little bit to to get lane or Carl or whoever that was, leading those projects, kind of having prod them along. Um, that's one thing that as I have watched four H As a four H youth member as I have watched it in my you know late twenties early thirties without kids and watching how parents prodded and helped along And now as a parent doing it myself... um ...where is the sweet spot as a four H parent as a four H leader to where you get the kids? Do enough of the project on their own that they actually learn from it and they actually take some ownership and they use their own willpower to go out there and break the steers and ride the horse and do the sewing project before midnight, the night before the fair... um and and then at the other extreme sit back and say well this is the kid's project they need to do it and stay completely out of it. That that's always, I think, been a tough balance for me to find uh

Jeanne:

I can't say that I necessarily found the sweet spot cuz now that my children are all graduated and out of four H looking back, I can see places where I probably did intervene too much Maybe somewhere I didn't intervene enough, but I remember one encounter I had with one four H parent. And if her kids didn't just do it on their own she was happy to let 'em just quit and that was something David and I were determined not to do. We wanted to teach our children About and I know we didn't write down the goals before we started like we talked about earlier with record books but we wanted if our kids committed to a project, they had to complete it. And that that at times really did take prodding especially when of course we did try to get the steers broke when they were small enough that the kids handle a easier.

Matt:

incentive. Sure

Jeanne:

Yeah and we made them get out there and do that. And, and we helped when they were little because we didn't of course didn't want him to get hurt, working with an animal that wasn't real tame yet But I guess I'm not one to just let a like people by nature are lazy And our our kids are the same and if you're not pushing them to go do things and working alongside them they won't do it. And so we always felt comfortable working alongside them and helping them to get started. And it probably really wasn't until their later junior, high years where they would go out on their own and work with those steers or I would Anne with her crocheting project I I was the crochet leader and and that's not always the greatest thing for the parent to be the teacher yeah. And then Anne was lefthanded. I am right-handed so that was another hurdle, but, but we figured that out and and it would be, it was when she was probably in junior high that she would pick that up and work on it on her own. I didn't have to be. pushing her So I guess maybe the way I observed that was just as they started to do things on their own I released more and, more and I'm thinking if they would've not started to pick things up on their own we would've considered not letting them in to enroll in that project when they were older, Because if they're not, if they were gonna rely on us to do it, then then we hadn't accomplished what we were trying to accomplish

Matt:

yeah. And that, to me, that's the that's the greatest part of a program like four H that allows you to explore and try some things that are brand new either to you or to your parents or to the whole county, and, if you like it, if you're interested if you have a passion if you have a talent in that regard, you may put more emphasis and more time on that and priorities and you let something else go as you grow up. And that's a progression that I think four H offers that a lot of activities sports education even, doesn't you know, everybody kind of has to stay at, if you're gonna if you're gonna play an organized sport, you're always gonna have a coach. And yes, you may take some initiative and, and do some extra work in the weight room or going to camps or summer leagues on your own. But you're always gonna have that coach's control and with four H you know, you start with your parent practically doing the project for you when you're seven, eight years old I mean let's be honest um to, by the time you're 13 or 14, hopefully you doing quite a bit of it with a little bit of supervision. And then if the kids stay with it until they're 16 to 18 I mean, we encourage our oldest kids in our family to be a leader of a project in a club. And so Lyle is now going and helping the young kids in our family or somewhere else learn how to Hal to break their steer or learn how to clip their heifer or whatever the case may be and so within one Cycle of four H I mean one kid from whatever that would be 12 years or so, in four H um they can move from having someone help them learn something that's brand new to teaching someone about something that's brand new to them. And, and you don't get that with a lot of things these

Jeanne:

No that's, that's really true. And I They say when you really truly learn something then you can teach it. So that's really proof that they have actually learned it when they can teach it to the the next generation. And one of my very favorite pictures and this was not something that I encouraged or anything I saw Carl at the fair teach in a little kid how to take care of his bucket calf

Matt:

awesome

Jeanne:

and and it just, it was such a neat picture so and they've carried that teaching and that leadership forward. I, I know lane lane just really developed into a great teacher in the shooting sports project. Of course he knew the value of being taught well, because there's such a safety issue there And and and now he's teaching the next generation of pilots in the air force. And I think a lot of that came because he learned how to be a teacher in four h

Matt:

Yeah no no doubt about it And um the other thing I'm gonna touch on about what you were talking about you know, kids being involved in a project, but they really didn't want to move on and get better with, or didn't wanna prioritize And and you you made 'em get through that year, which I think is important. You don't get to quit You, you have to do what you set out to do. Even if you don't like it but next year then you get to say, you know what, I'm gonna spend more time on the couple that I'm really good at. And I Enjoy And I'm gonna let the somebody else go down this road And um, that's something in life I I don't know that we get those lessons um To in my opinion, to often we just say, well, I don't like it. I'm gonna quit I'm not gonna finish and get to the point that I need to get to prove to myself that I could do it. And then say, you know what? That's not for me Um because both of those you know like I guess the opposite is Dad always had steers. And so I've gotta always have steers. Well that's not the case. I mean hopefully not the case.

Jeanne:

right. You saying what you just did also made me recall an encounter I had with one of the four H parents when I was club leader and, um, we tried to be very organized and scheduled and get things on calendars. So people knew what was going on when, and this one parent just kept complaining because their, they wanted their kids involved in every single thing, but the schedule started to conflict and they didn't want their child to have to make those choices. But life is made of choices and we have to learn to make them And if you're not if you're not gonna help them learn how to make choices, when they're under your roof and in your home, it's gonna be hard when they're out on their own.

Matt:

That's that balance talked about the sweet spot, but that's that balance of giving them just enough leadership and help to get 'em started, but then letting them not only do the work but also make some of the choices and and guess what sometimes the result of those choices is. Partial or complete failure. And, um, I mean, we all love the day that we got the purple ribbon and the trophy, but we probably learned more when we got the red or the white ribbon and came outta the ring or out of the foods judging or whatever else in tears. you know, I I still laugh about my first year in the foods project with my mother Carolyn And it was about 105 degrees. And everybody at that time maybe still the same way. I'm not a cooking leader, but, uh at that time you made no baked cookies for your first year entry to the fair. So August the fifth rolls around and I walk into the old national guard armory in the Greenwood county fairgrounds my prized, no bake dropped cookies That I think had been setting while we were waiting on the consultation in the truck or in the car.

Jeanne:

Oh, dear.

Matt:

And I walk up and the judge evaluates my cookies and to eat them as I recall, she had to fold the little white foam plate into a taco and, tip it back so she could so she could drink my butter scotch peanut butter chow main noodle soup. Um and guess what? White ribbon

Jeanne:

Yeah

Matt:

you know, I learned, I learned a lot, Carolyn learned a lot And, ever since then we always had a cooler to put the put the baked goods in while we're waiting on the consultation that was an hour and a half late by the time little Matthew got up you know, those white ribbons, as hard as they were to take those failures may be the most important part of of a four H program as long as we learn from 'em and pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and go back again next

Jeanne:

That's that's very that's very, correct. I Actually was visiting with David just the other day about some of these things. And, he pointed out, he said we wanted our kids to have some failures while they were still with us, so that we could help them learn how to move through failures. and like you say pick yourself up, dust yourself off And go again And I, I felt like that made them emotionally strong. because right now we've in my opinion this is my opinion only we've kind of developed a society where we don't want our children to have any failures and they always win the trophy but they become very very, it's very difficult for them to suffer something. That's an emotionally traumatic thing now And we wanted our kids to have that emotional strength to move through those failures

Matt:

younger that can happen And within reason, the more often that it can happen as they progress, probably the better Now at some point you don't want them to completely lose confidence and lose self-esteem and and belief in their abilities to, to do certain things. But, uh, yeah, I mean that again that's we learned so much more and grow so much more the The, stress of failure compared to the the wins all, all the time. So yeah that that's an important part. So we've talked mainly about, and of course the timeliness of it, uh, about competition in the county fair And things like that Um there's other parts of four H two what What would you say is the most valuable part If you had to boil everything that four H is or that you have observed the four H program offering to our youth what's the best part of it for our kids. What's the most important valuable part of the four H

Jeanne:

That's wide open question.

Matt:

Yeah. You can go any way you want no, no wrong answers

Jeanne:

I would imagine, you know, really for every individual person it's it's different because they each have their strengths and weaknesses going in But I would say for my three children, probably the whole leadership aspect learning to Even just learning parliamentary procedure in a meeting and learning what that's supposed to look like but also maybe ultimately working with people from all kinds of backgrounds and knowing that, not everybody comes in with the same thoughts and ideas, or even the same worldview And you have to learn to work with all kinds of people And I, not so much for Carl now because he's back working with us on the farm and ranch, but I know where lane is at in the air force the, the broad group cross section of people that he works with on a day to day basis, he learned how to do that with four H and I know the same applies to where Anne is at now working with people all across the country with all kinds of different viewpoints and that's you have to learn to work with people.

Matt:

Yeah Yeah I I would echo what you had said earlier about society not, learning to have a few failures and, and learn from those and grow. similarly I think that part of some of the issues that we have today is a society and, and one of the things that I've made very clear is we have things like discussions on practically ranching and other places We've lost the ability, in my opinion, to have discussions where we disagree and figure out how to still get to a spot where there's mutual agreement and and if not being friends afterwards, still at least, uh, work together. And, I think four H teaches that I mean, granted yes we can look around the county fairs and they're fairly rural in a lot of clubs and organizations and counties. They're fairly white There's a lot of people would say from the outside, looking in that uh that's not a diverse group of people what's she talking about but honestly it is incredibly diverse, especially as you start working on the state level and the national level of four h And and, um There that opportunity to have people that see things not just a little differently but a lot differently and figure out, okay, now, where do we go That's that's lost sometimes today. And, and the earlier we can teach that to youth the better. Um you you mentioned parliamentary procedure, and if I had to boil four H down and say what's one valuable thing that four H teaches that nothing else does that's it. When when Ava started as a young four H member and Amy And I were both four HS growing up and and we were so excited to go, Ava's first four H meeting And we went to to the local church hall and we'd chosen, which, which club ava was gonna be in And so we go in here all excited and and it was not a young club really Uh it wasn't a big club but uh not a extremely young club. They start the meeting with the four H pledge and the flag salute and the president called it to order and then handed it over to the leader for the leader's report. And the leader said okay we've got Cattleman's day coming up. Do you all wanna have a float Yeah, everybody raised their hand. Okay. Do you all wanna help you wanna bring brownies or cookies to the Cattleman's day deal. How many people wanna bring brownies Half the hands go up. How many people wanna bring cookies Half the hands go up Okay. Brownies won. We went through not just that meeting but the second and third meeting and never made a motion. And I looked at Amy and Amy looked at me and we were like what is happening And so as involved four H parents um, we asked, you know, is this normal? Should we be making motions? Oh yeah, these kids used to be pretty young and really nobody. Well, the leaders didn't really understand parliamental procedure And so we didn't raise a big stink. We just took the other three kids that were about Ava's age. And at age eight, we entered them in gavel games And those kids learned how to make a motion amend a motion call for discussion have a vote, all the basics of robert's rules of order And by now you know Club now has a proper meeting. And I think that's something that way after they graduate from four H you go to any civic organization and I can almost promise you it's the four H or the FFA person who's in that organization Who's gonna be able to maintain order at the meeting because nobody else knows how to make a motion and so that's that's an as well

Jeanne:

Yeah we were very fortunate in the club we joined because the leaders that were in there when our kids were little and we joined were already doing the model meeting competition. And we just got to where every one of our meetings was just conducted that way. And of course, when we had little young kids doing that competition it was pretty scripted but they still learned from that so we just felt fortunate for the club We joined that they were already doing all that.

Matt:

And that that's uh that's, that's the way you gotta learn is that exemplary leadership and and um and, a big part of four H One of the things that I think is interesting to me in different areas How four H and FFA either worked together or almost in a competition And I don't know how it is. in your area.... when I was growing up Eureka didn't have a an exceptionally strong FFA program And so as a result most of us were in four H for the entire time and and probably never made a move You know morph into the FFA program I I know I didn't there were a couple who did but today we have a pretty strong FFA program And so a lot of the kids may stay in four H but they'll do some more of the leadership stuff And the speaking and national level conventions and things in FFA. How is it out your way in Mead county or in in Clark county or any place that you've seen Um how is that relationship between four H and F

Jeanne:

I can speak to what it was like when our children were in four H we actually were in the kids went to school in Ashland which is in Clark county but we did four H in Mead county And when the kids were in four H neither county neither the Mead high school or the Ashland high school had FFA So that wasn't an option for us They do have FFA in Ashland now but that was after our children graduated. I can speak to David's experience a little bit And I think this was in I know this was in Ville county and and they had both the FFA program and four H and I think he participated in both and it was very strong in both And he did a lot in both of them. So we didn't have the option for FFA So it had to be four H or another leadership type thing And there was some boy Scouts in Ashland but we didn't get involved in those at all

Matt:

Right One one reason that that that I bring that up just yesterday I read and I actually shared this post So for those who are Facebook friends with me they may have gotten to see this but I I really enjoy listening to Mike Rowe and his podcast and some of the things he has done with dirty jobs and some things like that Um he evidently spoke to the texas FFA recently and made a post to his however many hundred thousands of followers And I'm gonna read this post and it was about FFA but I think you could insert four H and FFA into this he wrote: "whatever problems we face as a as a country I can assure you the FFA is part of the solution As I said back in oh nine when I spoke with the national convention in Indianapolis these are the teenagers you wish you had Smart curious enthusiastic hardworking and unfailingly polite These are the kids who will lead modern agriculture into the next phase These are the kids who will figure out how to feed a hungry planet. Before And after my talk I shook hands with hundreds of these young men and women and I was struck by the way they all looked me in the eye smiled and sincerely thanked me for being .Obviously good manners are not unique to FFA or four H I notice this same thing at skills USA and large boy scout events It's a common trade among kids who agree to take some kind of a pledge, an oath, or a creed Well, the FFA has a creed and their members take it seriously It was written nearly a hundred years ago by a farmer named em Tiffany it's not an academic statement or a political one. It's a personal expression of belief. A philosophical statement That's been memorized by a lot of people who believe it To their bones One of the kids I met today compared it to my sweat pledge which those who are micro fans know about his sweat pledge and and what it entails) And I took it as a great compliment He recited it for me It's the first time I'd heard it And I thought it was worth a share. And then he writes the FFA creed out And I think the same thing could be said for the four H pledge uh my head to clear thinking my heart's greater loyalty my hands to larger service my health to better living for Club my community my country and my world Um it's more brief than the FFA creed but it's just as powerful And I mean those words have have held true generation after generation member after member And regardless of what issue we're talking about uh regardless of what region or what struggle or what vote might be if you'll About that pledge If you'll think about that FFA creed it answers a lot of things And I mean we can we bring faith into this podcast quite often but I could say the same thing for for what we believe regardless of our religion but I most of our guests would be of the Christian faith And I know that you and David are that's what's lost a lot of times I think is this lack of some belief system some ethical moral belief system that is bigger than that One four H kid is bigger than that one four H family or club or even county And and that coupled with As you said working with a diverse population of youth and of of leaders that allows us all to grow And it allows us all to dig deep and figure out how to get through some of these

Jeanne:

There's a lot of wisdom in what Mike Rowe said and what you just said And the thought that struck me as you were reading his statement is you're you're thinking beyond yourself And otherwise people will just we become narcissistic when it's all about us and all of these things Four H, FFA, boy Scouts Um if we have a faith family we think about something besides just ourselves and there's so much value in that And um I think we can see just even talking through COVID and how we were all shut away from each other And I heard someone say once we've spent the last 20 years figuring out through the internet and all this technology how we don't have to interact with anybody, because we can order stuff online and it shipped and we don't have to even talk to the delivery man. And he said it took COVID six months to make us realize that we need each other.

Matt:

Wow

Jeanne:

And and I think but four H does that. You you know you as a club you do community projects together and you need everybody's help to get those things done. And and I would assume that FFA has programs similar to that as well. I know we did a lot of mission trips with the youth group, and doesn't take you long to realize how blessed you really are When you go on those mission trips and go to some of the most difficult locations in big cities and realize that people just don't have it as nice as we And you you become more thankful and grateful for those people around you

Matt:

you use you use that four H motto Um

Jeanne:

Yeah To serve

Matt:

yeah And and to to make the best better. Um sometimes the best that somebody has it's it's A lot less than what we have and yet whatever their best is we try to make it better Whatever our best we try to make it better. Coach Snyder at K state always talked about continued improvement. Every day we get just a little bit better and a little bit better, And uh it doesn't matter if it's The night before the fair is supposed to start And and we know we've gotta play a little catch up Um maybe we did procrastinate maybe maybe the night before that record book is due that we were supposed to start last October or November when we entered the project and we wanted to set our goals... we still we know we've we've gotta make ourselves a little bit better, And and regardless of where that that best Level is we try to make it better, And I I think that's that's one thing that a lot of these um these programs can do and and do very well. And and yeah your your comment about something bigger than ourselves is huge. Um we see it every day in our schools, We see it every day in society and on the news, And um anytime that we can find something that helps get us out of our own Mind and out of our own little sphere or our own little world is beneficial And I think the four H program does a great job of that.

Jeanne:

It helps us learn that we need to respect all people for the precious gifts that they are.

Matt:

Yep Exactly

Jeanne:

even if we completely disagree with them.

Matt:

That's right And and um and we do sometimes um again even even within our own communities and within our own state uh within our own nation it homogeneity is probably a cursed thing It it makes it seem easy it's time cuz we all just nod our heads in agreement but uh we never we never make ourselves get better and and see things probably from a little wider perspective. So there's four HS on that four leaf Clover What do those four HS stand for?

Jeanne:

Head heart hands and health

Matt:

There you go We've talked about the four H pledge We could recite the FFA creed. We talked about the four H motto. Um what are those four HS on the Clover Um...What do they mean to you?

Jeanne:

Well I guess when you just think about the pledge I pledge my head clearer thinking I think if we help ourselves as well as our kids just learn to read and think logically about things And learn how to evaluate where the truths really lies That's really helpful That would be helpful to all of us cuz we have to do that every day. Um our hearts our hearts are our compassion for other people and probably don't show compassion to other people near as well as we all should I mean that that's our society today seems to not show that very much at all I guess all of those H's just encompass all of life and that we're humans I like to remember that we're created in God's image and we are the only creature made that way And we're called to live completely with our head with our heart with our hands with our health to serve others So that's kind of a rambling answer.

Matt:

No not at all ...I mean and it's probably different for everybody but when I was a kid and was asked what those four HS stood for I just said head heart hands health I mean listen to the listen to the motto we or to the uh pledge We said at the beginning of the meeting or we said at the end of the meeting depending on who makes the motion but as a parent and as a leader then I finally listened to it and went this thing's genius.

Jeanne:

It is.

Matt:

It really is And and here it's it's like sometimes memorized prayers at church We we rattle 'em off and we say 'em but do we really say 'em do we really study every line every word of that and realize how much they mean and how many things they can help us solve And I think we're all guilty of you know we've got things to do at this meeting We've got things to do after Whatever and we rattle through 'em without really realizing how powerful they can be If we'll just take 'em to heart and and use

Jeanne:

That'd be a great project Talk for someone

Matt:

you know you say that... lyle gave Lyle and and we're switching places here but this is FFA Now... lyle ran for district officer and FFA last spring. And um Eureka had not had a district officer since Clinton Laflin, I believe back in Ah I think it was no it wouldn't have been before the turn of the century but it would've been shortly after the turn of the century Um 2005 six I think somewhere in there And so it's been it's been 15 years and uh so Lyle I said so what is involved I wasn't in FFA I have no idea I had a lot of friends at K state who were in FFA a lot of state officer friends and and I was always kind of envious because I didn't even know that part that leadership development that public speaking Type of FFA was even a thing Um so I said," you you know ask your ask your advisor," And we've got a great advisor here in Eureka and and he helped him along and and kind of told him what to expect And and of course took him down there to the competition but lyo said dad I gotta write a speech What do I write a speech about And I said what what do you know what do you like in FFA? And he said I don't know I like like judging and I like leadership and I like you know state Conference or convention and national convention And and I said what what do you do at those things What do you do at your meetings Well we say the creed and I said okay did you did you go do the creed contest? No I said well maybe this is your opportunity to do the creed contest during your speech And he looked at me like what I said sit down and write out word for word... the FFA creed I I didn't know it I wasn't an FFA. And so he He said it by memory I said that thing's powerful, Lyle. Now break it down line by line and what it means to you And so he just you know in a in a typical teenager well I don't know And he went through and he told me and I just started And again was I too involved? I don't think so, but I just started writing down or typing actually on a word document what he was saying And we cleaned it up a little bit and we sort you know tried to put some Polish and spit shine on it. And By doing nothing but thinking about that FFA creed... I could say the same thing about thinking about the four H pledge or the four H motto... and turning that into a five to seven minute long speech He goes in there and gives his speech and a no name from Eureka Kansas gets to be a district officer for Southeast Kansas in a really tightly contested race. And and all he did all he did was exactly what you're talking about Exactly what Mike Rowe said. Um Words have meaning And and sometimes we .Forget to use them for the good uh but these these types of things I think can really give us some direction not not just as youth but as as old gray haired guys like me as we become parents and leaders and and read through these things. There's a reason that these things have lasted for decades or centuries or terms of the Bible thousands of years is because when we get stuck go back to basics and and let's figure it out. Kind of changing gears, I am like I said we're right on the verge of our county fair starting in fact this morning between Checking pastures and some fields I stopped back by and and Henry and Hannah were putting some finishing touches... in Hannah's case putting some beginning touches on her horse because this time she has an excuse she broke her arm in the first day of summer basketball practice, And so she went from having a horse that was in pretty good shape and had been ridden quite a bit and was gonna be a contender... to being off that horse for 90 days And I rode her a couple times just with pasture work trying to keep her leg up But uh she got on her today and that poor horse is outta shape and outta practice and has forgotten two thirds of what what she remembered, And so Hannah's learning a valuable lesson that uh through no fault of her own necessarily but when you When you when you don't keep an animal in shape and and working on that project and keep yourself in shape, you've gotta do a lot of catch up So she was struggling She was having trouble with her mare this morning, And I said let's let's start from ground zero. Pretend this thing is a cult and has no idea what it is You're telling her and little things... don't expect greatness... but reward the little things and little by little she got her you know an hour or two hours time she got her back kind of settled down to where I think she hopefully will at least not get anybody hurt at the the horse show. We will not uh be we will not be bringing the purple ribbons home tonight but um sometimes that can't be the goal. Sometimes we have to we have to augment those goals and and maybe that's why maybe that's why young Matt Perry always wait To the end of the project to make his, because the the the goal may not may change as we get through the project depending on what's uh what's going on.

Jeanne:

Just think of how much stronger she's gonna be having to go Even it wasn't her fault that she broke her arm But she survived and she's going on and she's

Matt:

Yep That's a big that's a big part of it. So as parents around the arena The horse arena the steer arena, is sitting next to um the youth that's that's being judged in foods or in photography or arts and crafts or crochet ...once it's time to compete... how do we as parents make ourself the grand champion parent not necessarily the parent of the grand champion kid? What are some rules that we ought to live by As we walk into that county fair and and watch little Johnny or little June compete

Jeanne:

Well for me I guess more of my thoughts on that question are based on what I observed other people doing that I wanted to not do Uh I I uh I and I I I failed completely in one of Lane's earlier years in showing cattle because we made our kid we made our kids do showmanship um whether they wanted to or not we made 'em do that. And there was one year and I don't remember which year it was lane was still pretty young, So I'm guessing he was maybe maybe sixth grade I'm not sure. Anyway he hadn't worked with his steer a lot. He wasn't real real good at setting him up or anything. And lane did not place well in showmanship, And I could just tell that he was getting angry out in the ring and he wasn't doing what we had tried to help him learn to do. And and after he walked out and I don't remember how he placed it was towards the bottom of the class He was just furious I was furious at .And that was absolutely the wrong way to be, And so I learned that I wanted to praise what I saw that was done well because they already know what they messed up on

Matt:

Yep

Jeanne:

you don't have to beat 'em over the head with it. They already know And and one thing I also learned from watching other people... I've heard so many people criticize the judge and the judge doesn't know what they are doing, and they're not they're clueless. And you know it's one person's opinion on one day And their opinion might be different than yours And everybody has a different opinion about what is good especially with livestock but I even saw that in crocheting. I I judged some other fairs around and was talking to one of the leaders at one of those fairs that had taught these girls who I was judging And I could tell that for her some of the things that I was looking for were less important to her, And there were other things that she thought was more important in that crochet project. And so we're all different We all have different opinions And all of that made me realize, I just again need to praise the things my kids did really well Not beat 'em over the head with the places I thought they failed. And I'm not gonna be the one that's gonna complain to the judge Complain about the judge I we never complain to the judge but We did not wanna complain about a judge in front of our kids either.

Matt:

Yeah And those are pretty good words to live by I've seen it I hope I haven't done it I have wanted to, but yeah you're exactly right And the best remedy for complaining about a judge the same could be said about a referee or an umpire... I have learned this the hard way and now one of my kids uh Ava got to judge A nearby county fair this week um a project and she learned it and I told her it was a valuable lesson but the best way to learn how and why you shouldn't argue a call that a judge makes to be that judge.

Jeanne:

Mm-hmm

Matt:

call argued And your judgment argued by semi irate parent that hasn Heard this podcast hasn't talked with somebody like Jeanne Clawson to realize that... you know what, it is one person's opinion were they right Maybe were they wrong? Maybe. Regardless it they were hired to do a job They did the job to the best of their ability and maybe had a different perspective on that crochet project, on that photography exhibit, on Those dropped cookies that uh maybe they were supposed to be liquid Maybe that's why I had a high rimmed foam plate. Maybe it was supposed to be a a dessert drink ...not not perfectly formed cookies... um in that case the judge was right white ribbon It was for Matthew... but um but honestly it it is one person's call it's one person's opinion It's one person's placing and and that's why we Competitions They're they're sometimes they are complex and they are complicated to make those calls And there's a reason they made those and hopefully in their reasons and in their consultation with the kid and the parents afterwards they make that clear but like it or not that's why that's why we compete. If we always if a judge always saw it our way then no one else would have any incentive to come out and compete. If a judge always saw it someone else's way and never liked our kind of cattle or sheep or horses or riding or crocheting then we'd all say you know what I'm not gonna compete next year, and there'd be One animal or one family or one type that was that was always in the winner circle uh that's not healthy for anybody either. I I have to laugh We were talking about consultation and this goes back to where should a parent be in those early days of the project And I was too young to remember this,... and so I'm going off of stories from others but I think I'm gonna hit it pretty close but there was a young kid in the foods project and and she was sitting there with her parent, And the judge asked Susie let's say Susie um Susie what did you bring today Uh brownies. Okay So um did you like making the brownies Uh I don't know. Was there anything that you saw as a challenge Did you have any troubles as you made these brownies I don't know And by about the third or fourth shrug of the shoulders and I don't know the judge is I mean by gosh that judge is gonna get little Susie to talk. And the fifth question finally little Susie says, "I don't know ask her... she made 'em." And points to her mom.

Jeanne:

Oh

Matt:

I love that story I feel so terrible for the mom because I don't know it was it was probably valid. She got Outed by her six year old or seven year old four HR But uh that was one of those times I'm sure the four H parent was wishing that she had maybe let little Susie do a little bit more in the kitchen so uh so she didn't get outed but now I'm coming up with all kinds of old historic stories... a pair of sisters who were about my age one was a year older One was a year younger Same kind of a deal They both made cookies now actually I think these were brownies too or they were out of a pan and they'd both made them they'd both worked on them and Something happened either The brownies that they made in advance got smashed in the freezer by the cinnamon rolls or something shifted I don't know what happened All I know is They both made separate pans of brownies They both were ready for the fair, and yet they had to make them again And one kid was going to the clothing style review or something, And the other kid the sister younger sister I think it was had to remake the batch of brownies They cut 'em from one end for one child And the other end for the other child the one who made 'em I think got a blue or a red the one who used the other end got top blue or a blue one step above And so same judge regardless the one that had to stay home and make the cookies got the lower ribbon and she was not happy. Again that one person's opinion um all kinds I mean I'm sure everybody has their favorite four H county fair story that uh they felt like they were wronged somehow But again lesson learned

Jeanne:

You know it's been interesting cuz I've been this crochet leader and and then manage that department at the fair And so I'm there with the judge hearing her talk to these young people I've taught. You know and .I can't answer the questions The kid has to answer the questions and uh but I've got to where I I guess I had a great mentor when I was up at K state um working on my master's degree Dr Kirakoffe was so good to ask me questions to prepare me to to defend my master's thesis.. So I've got with the crochets to where I'll ask him these questions beforehand So the judge might ask you this how are you gonna answer And the judge might ask you this, but it's amazing How tongue tied Some people get in front of that judge And that's just part of being human Yeah Well it is And when you as club leader watched that C who wouldn't look you in the eye their first day in four H to the one standing in front of that group when they're in junior high given a speech with great confidence that was that's huge That's huge I know, speaking of our kids uh my two oldest find it very easy to speak to a group Um Carl it's been different for him It wasn't quite as easy, but he can do it but it's just never been quite as easy And I I think he wouldn't be able to do what he can now if it hadn't been for four H so it's it's fun to watch that growth And I mean it opens a whole new world for 'em and I can say they fly They they can learn that they can fly Yeah I guess so Well well he's actually teaching the T 38 now but that's anyway Right yeah Well thank you very much And this slog and the hard work is all worth it Good luck to you and your kids Thank you.

Matt:

Thanks for joining us for practically ranching, brought to you by Dalebanks Angus. If you enjoyed the podcast, heck even if you didn't... help us improve by leaving a comment with your review wherever you heard us. And if you want to listen again, click subscribe and catch us next week. God bless, and we look forward to visiting again soon.