Thursday, August 02, 2012

Goalsetting, Drought and 4-H: What do These Have in Common?

Like many others, I have been captivated for the last few days by the Summer Olympics. It is almost overwhelming to watch the myriad of emotions that these athletes are experiencing. It reaches out to us as we watch, and makes us become a part of what we are viewing on the television screen. As each event unfolds, we watch the best of the best in a fierce competition. We have seen hope, success, exhilarating triumph, and also disappointments, and defeat. Whether they win or lose, each of these athletes will go home knowing that they were an Olympic competitor, and they will be better for having the experience.

The commitment that these individuals make to their sport is tremendous. I have been impressed over and over as I have listened to the stories of how some of these people began training for their events at four, five, and six years of age. The many, many hours that they spend practicing are almost incomprehensible. How many of us make that kind of commitment to the important things in our lives? How often do we pursue are goals and dreams with that kind of determination?

Setting goals, making commitments, and practicing to improve our skills are concepts that we are very familiar with in 4-H. Just like the Olympic hopefuls, we invest time in ourselves to improve our skills, and often the first challenge is not to compete against someone else, but to sharpen our own skills and do just a little better than we have before; to “Make the Best Better.”

As this summer begins to wind down and come to an end let’s look back at our efforts through the last year. As always, I have been very pleased and impressed with your projects I have seen at the fairs. Don’t forget to thank your “coaches” (project , club leaders and parents) for their efforts on your behalf. Many of you have had great successes, and many of you have had disappointments. Our first goal must be to learn from the experience, either way.

The drought conditions we are currently experiencing may have a big impact on some of your projects for this year and maybe for next year as well. Let’s remember that even a drought is not a permanent obstacle to our plans and goals, but is another challenge to deal with. Each challenge that we meet makes us stronger.

Written by Bob McNary, 4-H youth development specialist in Newton County, Carthage, Mo.


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