(as published in Today's Horse Magazine - February 2017 issue)
My husband and I were visiting the other day about our childhoods. We were talking about rodeo and how we got involved. We were both born into rodeo families, but that wasn't really what resonated with us. It was who taught us and what they did that was different. We both realized really quickly thinking back through our lives that folks who taught us each things/skills are the people that we remember the most. We also felt those people were special to us for various reasons. One reason was what they taught us, but the other reason was who they were. They were people of principle. They might not have had the fanciest rig at the rodeo and most likely they were the dirtiest, but when it came time to put in the effort they were right there. They never quit giving even if they got very little in return. It was their example that was the most amazing. As young kids we learned more from them on that than anything else. They didn’t say to be one way and then were another. They exemplified the advice they gave. They were inspiring by just being themselves. I honestly had never thought about this before, but it came to me crystal clear. This put into motion thinking about what I am doing to give back to the children in our area. I can tell you that it has brought out new ideas and a focus on something that is new to me. I'm excited!
When we put things out into the universe it finds us in one way or another. So, it came to me as no surprise that just a few days later I was presented with the opportunity of helping an up and coming new youth rodeo series in Oelrichs, SD (Oelrichs Youth Rodeo Series). I call it an opportunity because that's exactly what it is in my opinion. Any time I can give back to children in rodeo or agriculture I do it (whether it be through a monetary donation or a donation of my time/effort). I feel more strongly about this in the last few years than ever before. When I was younger I used to give goat tying lessons to kids for free. Over the years I got away from giving back because I wasn't involved. I didn't have younger siblings still involved in the sport and I didn't have a child at the time. I was also very focused on my own activities. However, once I had my son that quickly began to change. They say that becoming a parent is a life-changing event. That couldn't be more true. I feel it was an awakening for me. Having my son has made me a better person because I am focused on someone else and not myself. I am concerned with his future and my role in it. What can I do today to help him to become a better person? With him watching my every move, I feel compelled to lead by example. To me that example has to be my best self ever always striving to improve over yesterday.
So, I ask you. What do you do to give back to the youth in your area? Whatever it might be I implore you to consider focusing on this somehow. Our children need us to be involved now more than ever.
As John F. Kennedy said, “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.” I couldn’t agree more!
PS. For more information on the Oelrichs Youth Rodeo Series, please contact Tanna White at 605-890-2159. You can also find it on Facebook!