The below piece is written as follow up to a post that was titled "Stock Shows: How whining about cheaters is worse than the cheaters" that was published on this blog on 01/14/15. The post can be read by clicking HERE.
There are so many issues I would like to address stemming from the comments that many of you were kind enough to share -- the definition of cheating; the reality of politics; the idea that publicly accusing a CHILD of illegal practices just because you suspect, heard, or assume is NOT OK.
But I won’t address those at this time (I promise to in the future if you promise to come back for the discussion!). I won’t address them because it will distract from the point.
If you read my original post titled “Stock Shows: How whining about cheaters is worse than the cheaters” and thought I was condoning cheating – you need to read it again.
If you read the post and thought I was claiming cheating does not exist – you need to read it again.
If you read the post and thought you needed to send me a list of examples in how the champion animal from you county was exhibited by a cheating kid – you need to read it again.
The post has NOTHING to do with kids who are actually cheating. The post has to do with a choice. A choice every parent of an honest exhibitor will make, whether they realize it or not.
When you child walks out of the show ring having placed anywhere lower than anticipated, as a parent you will address that. You will have two options in which to frame your reaction:
1. Congratulate and find the positive
"Great work Freddy, that was a tough class! I am so impressed you and Fluffy were able to do that well with so many experienced kids and awesome animals!! I could tell you were getting a little tired, we will have to practice with Fluffy some more to make it easier for both of you!
The judge really struggled on what to do with so many nice animals to sort! Now run over there and tell Kate she did an awesome job and see if they want to go to lunch afterwards to celebrate her win, I’ll buy!"
2. Excuse and find the negative
"What a joke! Don’t sweat it, the only reason you were stuck in 5th hole was because that kid in second bought his animal from the judge’s nephew (didn’t you see the nephew tail him into the ring?), and that animal that won is at least 60 days older. Jack told me that family overages everything.
Joe told me that the kid who was in third got caught somewhere a few years ago using illegal feed and someone saw them in the barn late last night. The girl in fourth, her dad spends a lot of money on everything so you'll never get around her anyway.
You really should have won that class hands down but when you have all these parents spending all this money and every one of these kids cheating, you’re never going to get around them. Heck that one kid even uses a cooler to grow hair on his animal and him and his parents spend hours a week just grooming the dang thing. We don’t have time for that.
But we aren't like THOSE people. We are honest, GOOD people so don’t you feel bad about losing because we are BETTER than those people in front of you. We aren't here for the ribbons anyways. They will do ANYTHING to win a class."
Who do you sound most like? Should the conversation between you and your friend or you and your spouse possibly be different than the conversation between you and your child?
The original post deals with all of the reasons option 2 is so damaging to our kids and the industry and encourages us all to try and utilize option 1 more frequently.
(I realize that many of you will still feel the need to inform me of all the ways that people cheat and I am simply wrong on my assumption that most people are good and honest. Even if your family is the only family in the entire state that is following the rules, consider if constantly pointing that fact out to your child is beneficial.)
Kate Lambert grew up in northern Illinois, not on a farm but active in FFA and showing livestock.
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