But, the thing is I learned to win. I learned to fail. I learned to learn from mistakes. I also learned that sometimes you repeat mistakes; because that’s what people do sometimes – or that’s just my rationalization for that long line of participation ribbons from consumer clothing. Regardless, I learned something every year and I grew from that.
I put in hours of practicing with my pony, Snowy, leading up to shows – when you’re passionate about something hours seem like minutes; this was always true of my moments with him. I wrote some of my favorite things I’ve ever written for my public speaking competitions in 4-H. I overcommitted with projects sometimes. I procrastinated some times. Other times I did things early and I proudly checked of check lists far before they were due. I wrote up talking points for the judges about my projects. I was preparing for the world at age 10 and I didn’t even know it.
So, as I browse through the fairs and I see little kids making projects out of macaroni or growing vegetables and displaying them on a white plate, I’ll smile just as much for the participation ribbons as I do the grand champions. Either way they’re learning. And you never know, that participation ribbon may just be a grand champion the next year. Unless you’re name is Lindsay Eckert and you’re participating in consumer clothing; that participation ribbon is alllll yours, honey.
In all seriousness though, a huge thank you to the 4-H organization for inspiring children to learn and instilling a high value of self-respect in our future generations. I was blessed to do well in 4-H, the hard work and life lessons paid off most years. But, I don’t even know where some of those ribbons are. The moments I experienced, however, never leave. They stay right in my back pocket.
[friday] editor/ 10-year 4-H member