Summer is in full swing and with it brings 4-H fair season.
We all know that one of the most exciting parts about fair is receiving ribbons for all of the hard work that was put into a project.
But, that is not the only purpose of youth doing 4-H fair projects the following story does a good job of explaining the true intentions of the 4-H programs.
The “Important Things aren’t the ribbons”
There once was a boy who won ribbons, mostly blue. He came home from the fair with a big trophy too, with a voice glad and proud he said to his dad “Tis the very best year that I’ve ever had.”
Said his very wise Dad, “Son, I’d like to hear, why you think that this was such a very fine year.” “Why, dad, you well know all the prizes I’ve won: how I’ve come out on top in most things I’ve done.”
“Just look at the ribbons that hang on my wall, and think of the money I’ve made since last fall. From premium checks and a big auction price you can’t help but think cash and ribbons are nice.”
But the man said, “My son you’re not thinking right, blue ribbons, ‘tis true are better than white: But ribbons will fade and trophies grow old, money’s soon spent and fame soon grows cold.”
“The important things, son, are not ribbons or pins, and sometimes it’s really the loser that wins: Now here are the thing most important, it’s true your 4-H experience has accomplished for you.”
“You’ve seen how a business meeting is run. This knowledge will help you in years to come. You’ve conquered the fear or addressing a crowd. You’ve learned how to stand up big and tall, and speak nice and loud.”
“Patience you’ve learned in your projects too, as well as your skill that will always help you.” You’ve learned the fine feeling it gives you to lend a glad helping hand to a stranger or friend.”
“You’ve learned to cooperate with majority rule, to give in with grace and not be a fool, who must always have his very own way, be in club work in school or at play.”
“You’ve learned how to lose without making a beef, you know the judge judges to his best belief you’ve learned how to win without boasting to loud, a kid can lose friends if he’s overly proud.”
“These are the things most important to you you’ll remember and use them all your life through they’ll help you become a mighty fine man, they’ll do more for you than a prize ever can.”
I love this story for the fact that it references all the life skills that 4-H can teach a young person. Life skills are skills, like critical thinking and problem solving to name a few, that will be utilized by a young person throughout the rest of their lives.
So many of us focus too much on the winning and not enough on the learning process. Hopefully, this story will serve as a reminder about how important the learning process truly is to the 4-H program.