14 August 2009

My New 4-H

I was driving home from work today and decided to diverge from my normal route and see where a different road, would take me. "Different road" is not what I expected, nor what I thought was happening based on my Google Maps recon before I left work. Short story, Google Maps does not appear to deal well with certain types of roads in rural areas, especially when they are 50' sections of dirt road. Oh well.

Anyway, as I was enjoying my unexpected diversion, I noticed a sign for the 247th Hardwick Community Fair next weekend. We go each year to support the community, dig on the tractors and livestock competitions and the boys like the hay bale maze and frog hopping contest. I'm personally drawn to the blacksmith doing his thing and the timber frame folks, carving and cutting post and beams. Me and Mother Earth News - a man and his farm porn.

Before I ramble any further, the whole point of this is, not my affiliation nor participation but possible association and maybe only fascination, with 4-H and an idea I contrived a few months ago for my family. 4-H, if you don't know about it, was originally a grassroots effort to bring a hands-on approach to public education and rural life. Enough with the book smarts - you need to learn to milk a cow. At the same time, it seems that you couldn't teach an old farmer new tricks in the past but if you got to them at an early enough age, they'll be open to new ideas, technology, etc. I've always liked the 4-H concept but didn't grow-up in an ag community and never participated. Until now!

The traditional 4-H is based upon four simple, idealistic principles, as stated in the pledge:

"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."

Earlier in the day I stumbled upon Maira Kalman's fun NY Times blog postings. The Benjamin Franklin bit two weeks ago was great as it synced with my backwoods, 4-H thinking. Franklin had a daily routines he followed as well as charts and goals in order to perform some amount of daily good through personal goals.

So, finally bringing this long-winded and convoluted post around to completion, the idea I had previously and now plan to formally adopt and document is my own, personal 4-H pledge.

Every day I will do and document at least one thing from each of my four H's:

  1. For my head, in the form of improving intelligence, pursuing insight, sharing knowledge or reducing stress
  2. For my health, so I may live as long as possible with and for the ones I love
  3. For my home, inside or out, my home is more than a house although both need to be maintained
  4. For my heart, loving and appreciating my family and ensuring I am actively participating as a family member instead of just running through the motions

There it is. I'm going to start tracking on paper as I don't have a good, clear Ben Franklin-ish way of charting these goals yet. Yet.

More to follow as I progress. Maybe a new blog as no one actually read this one ;)