What would 4-H be without our 4-H moms? I love to listen to the stories that are specific to only 4-H moms. The stories I love are about a first project talk, the cake that flipped upside down right before the fair, the tears that can’t be held back when the first 4-H steer is loaded on the trailer.
As I was reading over my son’s scholarship applications, I found this comment, “She has really pushed me to try new things and do things in 4-H that I really didn’t want to do - like public speaking!” That single comment made my day! There’s more than one thing that I did not give my children a choice about. They had to go to school every day and they had to go to church every Sunday morning. Of course, there are many other rules and requirements and each year the rules become less and I prayed they would start to make their own good decisions. By the time they were 15, my kids had to make the phone call to get their own hair appointments and the next year they had to start making their own doctor and dentist appointments. I figured they knew their schedule better than I did, and time management is a life skill they will need their entire life.
I’d like to share some memories about an extra special 4-H mom - Amy Harter. Amy had a smile and a laugh that made each person who came to a 4-H meeting or event feel perfectly comfortable. Amy would walk up to and talk to anyone who entered the room. In addition to her genuine personality she had a knack for wanting the best for others. She was not afraid of taking on one more responsibility for the sake of bettering the community. Just a few examples were the 4-H potato fundraising event, the Tired Iron Show and the pig wrestling.
Today is Mother’s Day and I wonder if there is a perfect mother out there? I know I am not perfect. I try to get everything done but I often fall short of my goals. I’d like to think that Amy was a perfect mom but I’m sure there were times when her kids did not get their chores done and they probably should have been sent back out to do them, but that would have made them late to school. I’m sure Amy probably said, “You get to school and I will finish your chores for you this one time. Tomorrow you need to get up earlier and get them done on time.” There had to be times when she wished things would have turned out a little better, but seldom did Amy complain. She was always thinking ahead to the next project and thinking how to “make the best better”.
I recently read about a study conducted about people and their level of hope. A person with high hope could keep their hand in a bucket of ice twice as long as a person with low hope. And a hopeful person will also work harder. Amy had hope for every organization she was involved with and for every child she came in contact with.
I know there was a year when the Harter 4-H record books did not get done due to hosting a Japanese student and a wedding. But Amy, being an eternal optimist, said, “Next year, we are going to get those record books done!” And last August, as Amy was signing my child’s records she said, “It wasn’t easy but my kids got theirs done this year! I really hope Samantha can work with some younger kids this year in the horse project and I hope Chase keeps working with his beef project, maybe he can plan a tour of the feedlot.” Amy just never gave up and her hope was eternal.
Our mothers push us to try new things, to do our very best and to never give up. They see everything that you did not finish or follow through on. They seem to have eyes in the back of their heads. But, the love in a mother’s eyes is something that nothing else compares to. And a mother’s hope that her child will do well in whatever they are involved in is never-ending.
Is there a perfect mom? Well, Amy is now - perfect in His Love. We love you Amy. Thank you for everything you did for the 4-H program in Kansas!
Berny Unruh is the 4-H and Youth Development Extension Agent in Barton County. She is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune. She can be reached at 620-793-1910 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.