We are constantly trying to improve our lives and find simple ways to be happier. Let’s take a look at the 4-H pledge and see how we can all apply it to our lives, whether we are involved with 4-H or not.
I pledge my head to clearer thinking.
4-H teaches kids to solve real-world problems. This is clearer thinking.
The 2013 4-H National Youth Science Day activity was called “Maps & Apps,” and it taught kids to not only use a map, but also the science behind creating them and all about GPS/GIS technology. In the process, they potentially helped their community by designing a park using real mapping technology (read: they didn’t just sketch a cool park on a piece of paper).
I’ve also talked before about responsibility and how kids have to put in a lot of time and work into their 4-H projects. Even kids who can’t keep their room clean for a day somehow manage to make it outside to clean their pigpen or sweep a barn. Real problems, real thinking, real development.
I pledge my heart to greater loyalty.
A lot of people have a hard time finding their passion. How many of us have gone through college with 4 different majors, 10 different club memberships, and still weren’t sure what we truly loved? I’m not going to tell you that 4-Hers don’t experience that, but they certainly get a head start in discovering what they love. The projects that the kids do are year-long, so they get plenty of time to figure out if they really enjoy working on whatever it is they chose to do. They might not discover the thing that they want to do for the rest of their lives, but they do learn about themselves and what types of things interest them.
That is what I think “greater loyalty” is talking about here. These are the kids who find something that they love and stick to it. These kids can be in this program from the time they are 5 years old until they are 18, and they are taught dedication to their passions.
I pledge my health to better living.
What do you think of when I say “agriculture?” Is it a farmer on a tractor? Is it a bunch of cows or a corn field? Is it sustainable food that supports healthy living? Although 4-H deals with lots of different subject areas, it does have its start in agriculture, and that’s still a major focus area. However, this doesn’t mean that we’re teaching kids that growing crops is their only path in life. Rather, we’re showing them that agriculture is still a huge and completely necessary part of our lives, whether you’re the one living on the farm producing the food and resources, or you’re the person in the New York apartment who’s never seen a tractor in your life. Either way, your life is impacted and sustained by agriculture, and that knowledge is very important.
4-H reaches out to youth in all regions: rural, urban, and everything in between. Rural kids might be more likely to raise a steer, and urban kids might be more likely to explore rooftop gardens or how to find healthy eating options in a fast food centered community, but either way, they are learning about how improve their health and live better.
I pledge my hands to larger service for my club, my community, my country, and my world.
Community service is something that every organization talks about in some way or another. People like to hear that companies do community service. People like to say that they did community service. Non-profits like to have the help that comes from companies and people doing community service. It’s a given: community service is kind of a big deal.
But what do we mean by “larger service?” Kids in 4-H are notorious for creating their own service projects. They identify a need in the community, come up with a way to address that need, and then they take action to make change. They go through the entire process, and they really do make differences.