Editor’s note: The following letters were in response to an editorial about a mother’s Facebook post discussing her son’s experience with showing a market lamb and later letting it go to market.
Thank you for publishing the Carpenter family's story; I had not heard about it. Brittany's account of her son's experience was wonderful and being raised with a farm background myself, that is what life is all about – learning to let go of those things that are precious to you.
I think the mistake she made was to post that particular picture of her son for two reasons.
First, when it comes to animals these days people are so hypersensitive that when they see that sad, sad boy with drooping shoulders and the animal next to him, it brings on a gut reaction. It doesn't even matter what the real story is about.
Second, in a few years, that little boy will not be happy that his mom put a picture of him like that on social media! (I just know my one son was not happy with some of the photos in his photobook, and he tore them out. Imagine these kids trying to do that with stuff all over the web.)
I did read the Facebook post about Dalton Carpenter. I was not aware of the reactions that were received by the family, although I should not be surprised coming from a Facebook post.
My children, now 37 and 34 years of age, were both involved in the 4-H market program. I can still hear their friends’ chuckles as they hurried home from basketball, football or track practice so they could work with their animals. I can still picture my daughter doing her homework in a cattle pen so that the newly acquired "wild" steer could get used to her. I was proud of them when they voiced their concerns to fellow 4-H’ers when they saw them doing some unethical things to their animals to make them look better for the judge.
I was proud of them when they thanked each buyer personally for buying their animal. I was proud when they decided to take on a new adventure by having their projects born and raised on the farm! I was proud to admit that they could help pay for their college education even though they did not have a "part time job."
Many people do not understand the aspects of farming but are too willing to voice their opinion on how they think farming life should go.
My children learned, through 4-H, how to constructively voice their opinion, how to balance work and play, how to make a dollar, and how to be proud of a "product" they produced! They are now college graduates! My daughter is quality assurance supervisor with Vlasic Pickle and my son is the sixth generation to farm our land!
I hope the Carpenters hold their heads high and look forward to next year’s project with anticipation!
One proud mom!
Thanks for your pro 4-H, pro-farm, commonsense article and comments about the Facebook 4-H article
Garry and Maxine Kuipers,
Byron Center, Mich.