### Valuable Lessons Learned from Parenting in the Past Year

The journey of parenthood is a roller coaster ride that I cherish dearly. Through the ups and downs, I’ve gained valuable insights about myself. Interestingly, the traits in my children that drive me up the wall often mirror my own quirks. Reflecting on the lessons my kids taught me this year, here’s a glimpse into the enlightening experiences.

Upon opening the door, I was taken aback. Her room was a chaotic sight, with clothes strewn everywhere, resembling an explosion of 20 suitcases. Amidst the clutter lay scattered papers, race bibs, and boots—a visual narrative of her eventful fall journey. Despite the initial urge to react, my attention was drawn to her black heels amidst the chaos.

Those heels bore remnants of green shavings from their final stop at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville—a poignant symbol marking the culmination of our high school senior’s memorable experiences this autumn.

While our daughter eagerly anticipated her senior year, I, as a mom, found solace in moments spent cheering her on at cross-country events, listening to her late-night FFA practice sessions, and observing her interactions with livestock in the pasture.

In a span of less than three weeks, she competed in two National FFA Convention contests, concluded her state cross-country season, showcased her ewe lamb at NAILE, participated in the National 4-H Quiz Bowl, and contributed to the final county 4-H Achievement Celebration.

The atmosphere at home has been charged with expectations, yet the profound lessons learned have been transformative. Several key insights stand out. Discover more about these impactful lessons here.

Articulateness is not a prerequisite for impact. What truly matters is the courage to voice your thoughts.

This morning, my 9-year-old daughter shared her opinion piece for a class assignment, and my heart swelled with pride. Tasked with expressing her viewpoint on a subject, she chose to write about her fervor for pigs. Her bewilderment at others not sharing her passion for these animals is endearing. While her perspective may be limited, her willingness to vocalize her passion is commendable.

The reality is, her influence among peers surpasses mine.

At the National Junior Summer Spectacular, a poignant message resonated as our long-time friend and preacher, Ray Perryman, addressed the audience. Emphasizing the significance of choosing companions wisely, he stressed that our life’s trajectory is intricately linked to the company we keep. This sentiment echoed a recent conversation with Brandon Yantis, a dear friend navigating parenthood, who highlighted the importance of guiding children towards positive influences and genuine friendships.

Observing Brandon’s growth from a dedicated youth in the swine industry to a responsible father of three underscored the impact of surrounding oneself with the right individuals. His reminder struck a chord as I witnessed my daughter walking hand-in-hand with his son. Explore the full narrative here.

A recent conversation with my daughter left an indelible mark on me.

As a relay team’s backup runner at the state track meet, she found herself in an unfamiliar position. We discussed how life often places us in such unexpected scenarios, offering unique opportunities for meaningful contributions. Despite not competing on the track, she embraced her role by supporting her teammates and providing encouragement—a valuable lesson for both of us.

These instances serve as poignant reminders that even in unfamiliar territories, our presence can positively impact others. Encouragement and support are invaluable commodities in today’s world. Dive deeper into this narrative here.

Navigating the bustling life of parents to three children, my husband and I often find ourselves questioning our choices amidst the whirlwind of activities—from livestock shows and wrestling matches to gymnastics practices and FFA engagements. Amidst the chaos, our pastor’s words reverberate in my mind: “Every decision is an investment.”

This simple yet profound truth resonates deeply. Each choice we make is an investment in various aspects of our lives—be it faith, family, or even our involvement in pork operations. Uncover more insights into this reflective journey here.