...and the struggles that often befall those who set out do carry the torch of independence.
So when it comes to how kid communities reinforce leadership, independence and self sufficiency, one doesn't have to look much farther than the local extension office. 4-H is one of the oldest and widespread kid communities around that is not only an amazing resource, but also a skill building community that can help develop young minds in ways that traditional public schooling falls short.
There are plenty of facts and figures our there on the number of kids and volunteers involved in the program, how many different chapters are out there, what their mission statement is, etc. But the real story lies within the lifelong lessons of those who have devoted themselves to the program.
One such individual is Arlinda Nauman, recently inducted into the 4H Hall of Fame for her contributions over the past several decades across the country. Her steady involvement began in 1958 when she was 9 years old. She has since helped young people grow through the program, turning several into leaders in their various fields from the simple reference point of responsibility. Above all, more than any schoolhouse lesson or special project, or personal victory, this one simple personality trait shines through as paramount in future success.
Arlinda joined me on the show to discuss her own rich history with 4H and some of the successes she's been able to experience along the way. During our conversation, she makes a solid set of points on the importance of taking on a project - whatever it may be - and committing to it fully. Following through. Owning it.
It's easy to point at younger generations, students, children - whatever age they may be - and call them out as lazier, less efficient, more entitled, etc. But the real challenge is facing the person in the mirror and asking yourself "What am I doing to help change this?" For better or worse, this finger pointing does nothing more than show a personal lack of personal responsibility. And if we do it, so, too, will they. We have much to learn from the Hall of Famers out there. Still. So if you have young ones at home and struggle with engagement, commitment or responsibility, maybe it's time to go back to square one, and revisit these four pillars as a new adventure in your own home: Head, Heart Hands and Health.
This is only one of several kid communities available, but when it comes to preparedness, there are few in my opinion that introduce up real-world problem solving, economics, responsibility and ownership in the same way as 4H. By now, most county fairs are over. Hopefully you had a chance to see the livestock and the young proud children who showed their animals or projects. If not, take note. Because these are the people who will be leading the charge in the next chapter of American independence and self-sufficiency. And they deserve our attention.