What is your legacy? What do you want to be remembered for? What is the one trait or traits that you want to pass to the next generation?
As a third, fourth, and now fifth generation sheep raising family, we want to "grow champions." The phrase "growing champions" is much more to us than just banners in the ring or the sheep in the barn. Its growing and evolving in the sheep industry while we stay focused on being champions ourselves.
Being a champion is much more than just standing in the front line, getting "the" hand shake and taking a pretty picture. It is about being a champion of heart. This takes a daily commitment to be the best at everything we do. Not just the week before the show or the day of the show but everyday. Everyday choosing to go that extra mile or extra inch. The small things are the difference in growing champion sheep and kids and just raising sheep.
Looking toward the future, we realize that everyday we are "Living our Legacy!" Building habits of champions and instilling traits of quality that will be handed down for generations.
Knowing that the smallest things matter starts at early age in our family. Having to drink that dirty lamb water, is one of the first lessons that each child in our family learns. Some might not realize the severity of dirty water, however when feeding high protein diets it is critical for animals to drink plenty of water. This helps prevent sickness like urinary calculi. Like us, sheep prefer water when it is fresh and clean!
There are also times at shows or even in the barn, that tempers flare. Times where us as adults don't maintain our composure. Is our frustration justified? Perhaps. However, as we look at the small ones watching and/or listening to us, we might want to push a pause button. We teach and lead by example more often than by lecture. So, remember the pause, breathe, and then teach because when little eyes and ears are involved "living our legacy" to "grow champions" takes on a whole different meaning.
As we grow in knowledge of the livestock industry; we realize that our future is only as great as what we are willing to invest daily. As with anything, we will only get out of it what we are willing to put into it. Luckily, our future generations, don't start from the bottom. They get to acquire knowledge much quicker through us. They also acquire our reputations as well. If we have lived the Golden Rule "treating others (included livestock) the way we want to be treated", we will be able to hand future generations much more than a legacy of buckles or banners, but legacy with lasting values that have stood the test of time!