Showing character Part 5: Fairness

Fairness is the fifth value in a series of the Showing Character curriculum designed to provide opportunities for youth to learn as they develop character in their 4-H livestock projects.

In the fifth series of Showing Character, the core value being shared is fairness. Providing opportunities for young people to develop character traits is important as youth develop life skills to help them become successful adults. The past series included citizenship, caring, responsibility and respect. Not only does learning about core values help youth individually, but also when showing livestock projects. There are certain behaviors that are developed and strengthened when showing at livestock shows.

Fairness involves being consistent. It means being equal and treating others fairly, just like the golden rule, “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.” In livestock exhibitions, the same rules should be used for everyone. Those showing should always follow the rules that are given out. If everyone is treated fairly, everyone has the same advantage. By being fair in all aspects of life means you are willing to admit to mistakes and willing to correct them.

An exhibitor shows fairness by treating all people fairly in the show ring, listening to others (what are they really saying?), accepting differences, admitting mistakes and learning what the correct way is. Properly caring for, feeding and showing a concern for your animal is a way to show fairness. Following the proper procedure in showing and following the guidelines and rules set at livestock shows are other examples of showing fairness.

Parents can show fairness also. When their child shows, they will accept how they won, be supportive of all participants and try not to purchase a high cost animal. A couple other suggestions for helping exhibitors to be fair are to list routine chores and see if responsibilities are fair, and talk about fairness in your 4-H club by dividing the club in half, having a discussion and reporting back to the whole club.

Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Programs provide educational resources to use in helping youth develop life skills and character education. The Showing Character series is from the Josephson Institute of Ethics as part of the CHARACTER COUNTS! project.

For more information on 4-H and learning life skills, please contact your local MSU Extension office or visit the Michigan 4-H website.

Read the rest of the articles in this series:

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