What does 4-H’s Revolution of Responsibility mean to you?

Consider a call to action to make a difference in the youth in your life by simply living life responsibly in their presence.

Responsibility manifests itself in many forms. One can involve being responsible with money; another could include managing responsibilities with possessions; still another might involve a responsibility of time or even a responsibility of other people. Several months ago, Michigan 4-H adopted a new slogan that reads, “Join the Revolution of Responsibility,” and speaks of “doing the right thing, breaking through obstacles and pushing our country forward by making a measurable difference right where [you] live.” 

This slogan is very catchy and sounds good – and it should. Some PR firm or ad agency was paid a lot of money to come up with a string of words that would catch people’s attention and stick in the minds of the readers. Unlike many slogans and catch phrases that we are bombarded with every day, this one represents my organization. It represents my area of expertise and the programming that I help to deliver. It represents me.

I thought for a long time about what this slogan could mean to the average person, especially as it relates to mentoring. It reminded me of something I came across in an article written for the YMCA. Responsibility is something that is more caught than it is taught. And that reminded me of all of the people I have approached about becoming a mentor.

Like anyone else in any other people-related job where you have to ask someone for something, I am used to my share of rejection for various reasons. Maybe it’s not the right time or there’s not enough time, or maybe they realize that spending time with a child is truly not a good fit. I respect that. I struggle a little bit though, with those who don’t think they will be good enough for some reason. Many adults feel that they may not be cool or fun enough to mentor a child. They may feel that they don’t have the money to take a young person out to sporting events or restaurants. They might even feel that the children in their communities don’t need mentors.

The reality is, if you simply live your life responsibly in front of a child, you are already doing more good for that child than all of the sporting events, inside jokes, meals and movies combined. You can even be a huge help to a child who appears to have it all. This holiday season, I encourage all of you out there to come and “live out loud” in front of a child. It’s amazing how just being there can make a difference – and I’m sure that you will see that in your own way, you are contributing to the revolution of responsibility seamlessly and effectively.

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