Before any 4-H event, meeting, or activity, the 4-H pledge is recited. The 4-H pledge reads, I pledge my Head to clearer thinking, my Heart to greater loyalty, my Hands to larger service, and my Health to better living for my club, my community, my country, and my world. This pledge is a call to action, not just something we do before we start a meeting. The 4-H pledge has a multitude of leadership lessons and opportunities that we can utilize by breaking down the four H’s.
First, I pledge my Head to clearer thinking. We all use our heads to think, even though some use them more than others! When we have decisions to make, we need to ask ourselves some questions, how will this affect me, how will this affect my parents, how will this affect others? We need to make sure that we thoroughly think through our decisions because they will affect somebody. Being a good leader means that we use our heads to make decisions, solve problems, and think critically.
Next, I pledge my Heart to greater loyalty. We are all passionate about something. We all have things that we love to do, playing sports, talking with friends, or spending time with family. Good leaders are loyal to their passions. What are you passionate about? What do you love to do? Always be loyal to what you love. Some synonyms of loyalty are dependability, faithfulness, devotion, trustworthiness, and reliability. These words also describe leaders. Do these words describe you? Make sure that you are following your heart and striving to be loyal in all that you do.
Next, I pledge my Hands to larger service. Servant leadership asks the question, are those you are serving better off because you were there? Leadership is not just about the leader, it is about those you lead. Larger service is more than just what benefits you, but what benefits others. Leaders use their hands to make contributions to group efforts, work in teams, and volunteer for community service.
Finally, I pledge my Health to better living. As youth, you are young, healthy, and have a lot of energy to help others We need to make sure that as leaders we are staying healthy, but also tying to live better. Better living includes character development, self-discipline, stress management, and personal safety. Good leaders try to live better so that they can serve others more.
So the next time that you hear or recite the 4-H pledge, think about all of the leadership responsibilities and duties that are involved.