Pigs are complicated creatures. Before our boys started showing pigs a couple of years ago, I had a different vision of a pig’s life. I thought that they liked to lay in the sun, roll in the mud, and eat. I was not correct in all those assumptions. They do like to lay in the sun. We don’t give them a chance to roll in the mud. They have a nice cozy pen with dirt and shavings and a heat lamp. I was really wrong on the eating part. Some of our pigs really do like to eat. Others make me stand on my head trying to figure out why they won’t eat. That is the brief pig education that I will be providing today. As my title says, it is about so much more than pigs.
I am not really sure where to begin. There is so much involved when your children have livestock show animals. They do learn how to care for them, but the life lessons they learn are, in my opinion, way more valuable. One of the aspects of having show pigs that makes this mom happy is that it gets us all outside (electronic free) and together. While little sister may complain about having to go to the pig barn, she can generally be found digging in the dirt pile or making mud or leftover feed “pies” and not complaining. The kids learn a bit about the not so glamorous part of the stock show life. Scraping pens and scooping shavings is not glamorous. I promise! It does teach them that they have to work hard with their project to truly take care of it.
It’s not all hard work though. The people that we have met and the friends that the kids have made in our short time in the business are priceless…and definitely worth the poop scooping that you have to do to get to the fun part!
There is also the lesson to be learned about being judged in a competition. This isn’t a math contest where the answer is clear cut. Being judged here usually involves one or two people and their opinion of what your animal looks like in comparison to what they think the ideal animal would look like. Our kids have expressed at times that they disagree with the judges, and that it isn’t fair. Here comes another lesson. Life isn’t always fair, but it’s important that you know how to handle those situations. Learn something from them and move on.
At the end of the day, there are always the bright lights of the fair to bring a smile…and ride to make mom feel queasy!