Showing character Part 3: Responsibility

The 3rd article in the showing character series is about responsibility and how this characteristic is represented when showing livestock and market animals in a 4-H club or youth livestock show.

In this 3rd article in a series by Michigan State University Extension about showing character, it is important for young people to learn all about feeding, taking care and showing their animals. The core word responsibility comes from the Josephson Institute of Ethics as part of the CHARACTER COUNTS! curriculum. Youth learn about the six core values and how it relates to showing livestock. Caring and citizenship had been shared in previous articles, along with responsibility in this article. There will be three additional core values in later articles on respect, fairness and trustworthiness.

In the showing character series, people may think that the information given out on the core values just pertains to the livestock in the show ring. It really applies to all that is part of the animal project. Not only do youth have to fit and groom their animal projects, they are also developing their own character by how they groom themselves by being in the public.

We are not born with good character, it is developed by practicing it. The Michigan 4-H Youth Development program helps youth develop their character and life skills through projects that give youth the opportunity to practice in a safe environment with good role models to provide advice and assistance along the way.

When we talk about responsibility, we talk about being accountable in a variety of ways. There are deadlines to get forms in for the county fair. There are registration forms to turn in to make sure the project is registered in a timely fashion.

Additionally, animals cannot take care of themselves. They must be fed, watered and cared for daily. Records must be kept of what they eat and how they grow; a large responsibility which serves as a very important learning tool for youth.

Youth showing responsibility can also been seen when it is time to enter the show ring. They are prepared to show their animal to the best of their ability. They never give up and do their best, regardless of the outcome.

In the showing character series, each lesson has an activity in which youth can participate and learn about that characterostic and how it relates to their animal projects.

Responsible behaviors include selection of an animal, caring for the animal, preparing the animal to show and/or sell, keeping records and then preparing for the following year based on what they learned.

For more information on 4-H and character education, please contact your local MSU Extension office.

Read the rest of the articles in this series:

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