Peggy Sanders
Oral, S.D.

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March 3, 2014
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Peggy Sanders: Confluence Chronicles 3-1-14

Not to slight schools, teachers nor formal education, but there are times that students who aren’t attending school can learn more, in a practical sense, than sitting in a classroom. Parents who use this choice wisely and discriminately can boost their student’s knowledge far beyond their years.

One 9-year-old missed school when she went on a bull-buying excursion with her parents. It was a trip that necessitated her “skipping” school and seemed a positive way for her to expand her horizons. Bridget has grown up on a ranch, has heard the financial discussions and knows the basic ins and outs of ranching.

Once at the auction site, she went around with her parents to look at the livestock and select the heifers and bulls that would be a good fit to their ranch program. Then they set budget parameters that are always good to do before the “auction fever” can overtake your common sense.

Bridget was told she could do the actual bidding and buy a heifer. Now, if you have ever gone to any type of auction you know the auctioneers speak at a rapid pace and seem to have their own language; it is one to which your ear must become accustomed to understanding in order to not raise your own bid and look silly or to realize when the price has reached your limit and you are out of the bidding.

Imagine a 9-year-old girl trying to bid, attempting to make the bid takers realize she was bidding, not just gesticulating. Her first motion was to raise her hand in a sure-shot manner. It got no results. Then she did “the nod,” known to all who have participated in bidding at any auction. (There may have been a little involvement with the parents and the auctioneer and bid takers by this time, so they realized Bridget was indeed a potential buyer.)

The first two pre-selected heifer possibilities sold for more than her budget allowed and she had one more chance to buy herself a heifer. Just when her choice came into the ring, her dad came up to talk to her mom, her mom bent down to hear and when she sat back up, Bridget had purchased the heifer.

That, friends, is what education should be all about.

A nationally-award winning columnist Peggy writes from the family farm near Oral, S.D. She is pleased to see the next generation of farm and ranch kids coming on. ❖


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