Youth can develop good character traits and life skills

When showing livestock, a great opportunity is provided for youth to learn character development and life skills in a caring way.

Michigan State University Extension 4-H programs provide opportunities for youth to learn life skills. This is the fifth of the Showing Character series which can help youth and adults work and learn together in the livestock project area. As part of the CHARACTER COUNTS!, caring is one of the six pillars of developing character.

Caring is the character trait we will focus on in this issue. Caring means how you feel about others and how you can help others. If you are concerned about an individual or what people are doing and how they are doing it, you want to do something about it and assist or support them.

In the livestock project areas, a caring person can display kindness and treat others as they would like to be treated. As a livestock exhibitor, youth need to be caring towards their animals, how they treat them, feed them properly and make sure their housing is correct. Youth learn that by caring for their animals, they will know they have done their best to make sure that animal has been cared for from beginning to end.

As a caring person, youth learn how to make decisions and how words and actions can affect everyone around them in the livestock arena.

Ways to show that you care, can be by assisting a young member selecting an animal, showing how to care for that animal, proper feeding, grooming, fitting of the animal. This can especially help with first time exhibitors. Adults can show caring ways towards members in teaching them how to select, fit, groom and feed their livestock projects.

A good way to communicate ways of showing how you care in the livestock project is to talk about certain situations in Michigan 4-H club meetings. Getting youth to discuss various scenarios on caring will help them later in other aspects of their life.

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