Red, White & Blue Ribbons

Happy Fourth of July. 
How will you celebrate freedom today?
We're off to what's considered the longest-running 
consecutive Independence Day Celebration in Texas.
Joshua will be marching in the morning parade 
with the FHS Mighty Mustang Band!

Today I've got a different 4 on my mind. 
Look at what my Uncle Roger gave me 
when we went home for the reunion.
It's his 4-H Record Book from 1960.

Were you ever in 4-H? 
Do you know the Pledge?

Look at that last line of the pledge ...  the words "and my world"  
were actually added to the pledge a few years into my time with the Club. 
{I remember that being a difficult adjustment for us.} 
Head, Heart, Hands, Health. 
It nicely parallels yesterday's guest post over at Minds In Bloom. 
And notice our Club Motto: To Make The Best Better.
And look what it takes to be an Achievement member.
Here's something I never considered before;
4-H was a Character Club.

Anyway, it's one of my favorite memories, belonging to 4-H.
We attended monthly meetings and had fun outings like shoebox socials, softball tournaments, rollerskating parties. And we signed up to take classes so that we could learn new skills and make cool stuff for the County Fair. In town. That was the cool part. We got to go to in to town. I loved every one of my 4-H leaders who taught me to train cattle and horses, sew clothing, bake cookies and bread, and take pictures, all for exhibition at the Fair.

Once the Fair had come and gone, we had to got to write our reflections in our Record BookHere's what Uncle Roger's looks like:

I especially loved that he expressed his gratitude in the last paragraph. This agricultural training was preparing him to do some amazing things years later down character road, including becoming a Professor of Agricultural Sciences at Cornell University and then Department Chair at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He even served on the Board for Heifer International at one point. And his professional journey started when he was a kid in Wayside, Wisconsin. On our family farm. And in 4-H.

My dad and grandpa both signed this book at one point, as an accountability check, I suppose, and I love seeing their handwriting.

What a lot of work that Record Book was, 
writing it all down, start to finish.

From learning about calf care,
{and not missing a class} 
to selecting a calf,
{which one you choose can make all the difference} 
and actually caring for it,
{which included proper nutrition}
to signing up to show it,
{must meet those deadlines!}
then training it to lead,
{which doesn't happen without trust} 
and fitting it for the show,
{just look at that animal's beautiful tail!}
to ultimately leading it around the ring
{why did we have to wear white show pants?}
so that judges could rank us in order, best to worse.
The best calf/caretaker combo in each class won
a blue ribbon {and a little cash}!

The book was a record of the process, the journey.
I wish I still had my Record Books.
It'd be especially interesting to read what I wrote about
the calf, aptly named Goofy, who, in the middle of the show,
 laid down.
Right there, in the ring. 
During a Showmanship competition.
In front of everyone.
While I was leading her.
The other kids didn't know what to do.
Neither did I!

I remember thinking we were doomed,
and trying so SO hard to react nonchalantly, 
begging Goofy to please please get up {NOW!}, 
so you can imagine my surprise 
when the Judge pulled us in to the center 
and eventually placed us in first.
Competing in Showmanship Class was a very big deal.
Winning it was the ice cream on the cake.

Turns out, the judge liked how I handled the challenge
when my four-legged bovine friend decided she'd had enough
and didn't want to walk around that silly circle anymore.
Midwest Breeders took our picture afterward.
I can tell by my stance that I was still a nervous wreck.
But isn't Goofy looking big and proud, large and in charge?

That's my favorite County Fair memory,
and not just because we came out on top.
It's what we learned that made it a blue-ribbon day.

Yesterday was another blue-ribbon day for me
because some blogging buddies are planning to use 
What's Under Your Cape? for their July book study.
They want to learn more about character development
and share their reflections and enrichment ideas
to help this year's class of superheroes soar. 
Here's a mark-your-calendars promo page;
more to come as the event approaches.

Here's to a red, white, and blue-ribbon day
that sends you soaring.


  1. I loved the self-assuredness of your four-legged friend! And that she was confident even if you weren't. Wishing you a happy 4th of July (parade and all!) and looking forward to the book study...

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  2. Hope you had a wonderful 4th!! I love the book study table of contents you made! Can't wait! :)

    EduKate and Inspire

  3. I hope you had a good Independence Day celebration! I love a good parade with tractors! I know a lot of 4H kids. They are fine young folks indeed. It seems that keeping those record books is the hardest part! I'm impressed with your uncle's cursive writing. You don't see that much anymore. Your blog tour looks fun - I'll have to check in on that!


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...