This weekend was the county fair. My children have been participating in 4-H for the last several years (as their ages have permitted them to join). As a child I don’t ever really remember hearing about 4-H. However, as a parent I have really come to enjoy this organization. As a home school parent, I think that 4-H has many benefits for my children. It permits them to have social interaction with other kids their age. It gives us as parents many teaching opportunities that are not necessarily afforded in the public school system. Our science projects can revolve around raising rabbits. I can do shop with the boys as I teach them how to build birdhouses, bird feeders, and other larger projects as they get older. We use the resources available to us to teach them how to sew. But perhaps best of all we can teach them about the importance of the 4-Hs; heart, health, head and hands.
The 4-H pledge is as follows: “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.”
The 4-H creed is as follows: I believe in 4-H Club work for the opportunity it will give me to become a useful citizen. I believe in the training of my HEAD for the power it will give me to think, plan and to reason. I believe in the training of my HEART for the nobleness it will give me to be kind, sympathetic and true. I believe in the training of my HANDS for the ability it will give me to be helpful, skillful, and useful. I believe in the training of my HEALTH for the strength it will give me to enjoy life, to resist disease, and to work efficiently. I believe in my country, my state, and my community and in my responsibility for their development. In all these things I believe, and am willing to dedicate my efforts to their fulfillment.
This year however has not been a great year for our 4-H experience. Yes, my kids enjoyed fair. However, my wife and I have become discouraged by our 4-H group. It seems odd to me that these kids can come in and say a pledge about what they are willing to do, what they are willing to dedicate their energy towards and then see such minimal effort in doing so. While I learned our 4-H group did well at fair, the pledge was not just for self-improvement bur for the betterment of my club, my community, my country and my world. In the past year we have seen nothing from our group that suggests that they are interested in the betterment of our community, country and world.
I am reminded of Num. 30:1-2 “This is what the Lord has commanded. If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.” The reality is, we all have made vows and promises that we fail to keep. We promise to make a phone call, take the trash out, do the dishes, etc and it slips our minds. We pass these off as no big deal. But this can leads us down a darker path.
What happens if we say we will be faithful until death. Will we one day not consider this vow as important? Will we love in sickness and health? We will love for better or worse? When we are twitterpated it is easy to say. But when sickness comes, when worse comes many run to the arms of another.
What happens when we tell God that we are ready to take up our cross and follow His Son, are we truly ready? Do we start and then fail to follow through? For many that is the case.
Words are fine and dandy, but the mean nothing if you are unwilling to follow through. Let us be men and women of our word. Men and women of action.