The 4-H meetings that I remember from my younger days don't look any different from the ones that I've been attending with Emma the past few months. Now, officially a "clover" (a young 4-Her) I'm getting to relive my 4-H days with her. And who knows, maybe she'll follow in her mother (and aunt's) royal footsteps and some day wear the county fair queen's crown. ha.
Every meeting begins with the 4-H pledge, which I still remember thank you very much, and then we move on to the old and new business. So in the spirit of a good 4-H meeting, shall we begin?
I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service and my health to better living. For my club, my community, my country and my world.
Is there any old business?
Why, yes. Yes there is. Last Thursday sweet Emma rode in her first horse show. It was hot, there was lots of waiting and entertaining of an antsy toddler, but it was worth every drip of sweat trickling down my cleavage to see my little girl decked out in her fanciest of riding apparel, parading a Paint pony around the ring. There's nothing like watching your little girl in her first horse show to make you feel like she's growing up too fast. My goodness.
Aside from coming home with three shiny green rosettes, a bucket full of treats, brushes and teeshirts from our local feed store, one of the best parts of the day(for me) was watching Emma push herself and experience success.
She was nervous about the first showmanship class and kept coming to me with her pleading, "Mommy, I don't want to do this. I'm trying to be brave and not cry in front of all these people, but I really don't want to do this" eyes. But I knew, we all knew, that she could do it. It wouldn't be anything more than she could handle and the whole thing would be a good experience. If she'd just get in there and try.
Sensing her hesitation, the lady who trailered the horses to the show swooped Emma up, gave her a pep talk and sent her into the ring–with a tactic that would have been much different from my own. She did it all with kindness and Emma's best interests in mind–but her approach was different.
As I walked behind her and Emma and listened to them talk, my nurturing side wanted to rescue her from the situation. I didn't want her to have to do something she didn't feel comfortable with or that she thought would be too hard. But I kept it to myself.
Dan was walking beside me and must have been sensing my unspoken desire to come in and rescue her: "This is good for her." he said.� "It's good for her to learn from another person besides you" And then he said something else profound about the key to confidence is to conquer something you're afraid of, or nervous about. That man. I need to get a moleskine for his back pocket, too.
But everything he said was true. I didn't come to the rescue. I didn't jump in and save her from a slightly uncomfortable situation. I stood back and watched–for I had more confidence in her, than she had in herself, at the moment.
And did she fail? Absolutely not. The girl set her jaw, marched into the ring and showed her heart out. She emerged from it all, beaming, proud, ready for more and of course, sporting a large green rosette.
And I think the first words out of her mouth: "When do I go in again?"
…..I"ll save the new business for tomorrow.