The Fair is in September

            If you are a mom, you have probably spent a great deal of time deciding what is fair and what is not. You have probably discovered that when there is one piece of cake left, and two children whining for cake, the best solution is to allow one child to cut the piece in half and the other child to choose which half to eat.

As a mom, you have probably counted out chocolate chips, measured Hershey’s syrup and split slices of pizza in half all in the never ending battle to make life just and fair. Let’s face it- sometimes, we do what we gotta to do stop the whining and keep our sanity. But the older I get the more I realize that teaching our children that life is not fair is a more important lesson than trying to even everything out to keep it fair.

And when my kids begin to whine and bemoan some unjust reality in life, my wise (and very patient) husband, Mike, says, “You’re right…life isn’t fair - the fair is in September.”

And so it is, if you live in Wayne County.

I grew up going to the county fair one time each year, if that. We would walk in, grab a wrist band for rides, waste a fortune on games, eat some cotton candy and greasy French fries, and go home with a tummy ache. But when I fell in love with a farmer, and the farm came with him, so did the cows, 4H and the Wayne County Fair.

            All summer long the kids washed and walked their heifers and goats, and Colin studied tractors for his project. There is so much work involved in preparing for the fair, and it is good for the kids to see that hard work does pay off.

Well, sometimes.

It is a big risk to put your success in the show ring in the hands of a judge who may or may not prefer your animal, and an animal who may or may not behave in the ring. It is a big risk to allow a judge to rank not only your animal, but you as a showman. To stand there with everyone watching as you are judged, ranked and placed in numerical position, smiling all the while, whether you are in first or last place.

And for those near the bottom, what a moment to show your character and continue to set up your animal showing no signs of disappointment or frustration even though your heart may be breaking.

As I said, life is not fair – even at the fair. And the fair is not life. Yet, so much of what we take home from the fair helps us to make sense of life.

            I wish I could enjoy cotton candy and greasy fries all year long, but I can’t. It wouldn’t be healthy. But at the fair, calories don’t count.

            I wish that every time my children worked hard at something, they were rewarded and honored. But in life, effort doesn’t always produce success, and character is not always rewarded with ribbons and trophies.

            Life may not be fair, but we can learn a lot about life at the fair,  if we take home more than left over cotton candy.

Happy Fair week…see you in the beef barn.

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Posted by Trish Berg 8:49 AM  


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