4-H teaches values, 'real world of farming'
From: Robert J. Rynarzewski
Ms. Rona L. Hankin's response ["Reader questions youth's priorities," Aug. 23, Readers Write] to your article on the 4-H livestock auction ["Raising livestock for slaughter pays off for young businessmen," [Aug. 16, The Howard County Sun] upset me also.
There they go again, those people in Columbia that do not understand or try to understand the real world of farming or what the real world of family values are.
No! The 4-H livestock sale does not teach the 16-year-old that money is more important than anything else in life. What it does teach them is that if you work real hard alongside your sister, brother, father or mother, wake up at 5:30 a.m. to feed your animals before going to school, clean out the manure when you come home, feed the animals again, eat your dinner, go out and work with your animals so you can show them at the fair (so that all the people from Columbia can come up to you as you're fitting your animal and say, "Can I touch it?"), then finally get to do your homework, work even more with the animals during the summer, then maybe at the end of a long, hot summer you can be rewarded for your hard work.
Yes, it is hard for many of these children to send the animals to the slaughter house after working with them for so long. However, these children may have learned something Ms. Hankin doesn't know: Steers, sheep and pigs are a source of food to many people. Understand that these animals are raised for meat and not as pets. These children only make a few dollars after all the many hours they have put in, hardly enough to let them think that money is more important than anything else in life.
By the way, I am sure Ms. Hankin does not raise and show dogs for only the fun of it. I am sure she is using those dogs for her financial gain. Let's get her priorities right, too.
In this day of drugs and violence, why do people have to find something to ridicule hard-working children? I am proud of my two daughters and applaud them and every other 4-H member who worked hard to make a few bucks for the many hours they put in. Thank God, these children don't hang out at the mall.
Farming families and traditional values
From: Susan A. Streaker
Rona Hankin's letter is a sad commentary on the ever-widening gap between the farm community and newer Howard County residents.
Farmers raise livestock for meat. Most people these days can only relate to meat as that stuff in foam and plastic wrap that you buy at the supermarket. Two or three generations removed from the farm, the realities of farm life are quite impossible for people like Ms. Hankin to relate to.
Farm children have an opportunity few children have any more: that of being a crucial part of their family's economic survival from a young age. Our children are driving tractors, caring for livestock, and weeding the family garden from a tender, young age.
What is so terrible about learning proper, humane care of livestock (something that our Howard County 4-H emphasizes)? And for that matter, what on earth is the matter with teaching a 16-year-old about being successful in business!
When our 9-year-old cousin sold his steer for $1,200 at the Howard County Fair this week, his learning experiences were about far more than that "money is more important than anything else in life" (to quote Ms. Hankin).
A year of grueling hard work preceded that sale, Ms. Hankin. That little boy matured into a responsible young man this year. I think the kinds of values he was taught on the farm are the old-fashioned kind!