4-H Pledge Debrief

4-H Pledge Debrief      

Group size:  2+ 

Purpose:  To use the individual elements of the 4-H Pledge as conversation starters. This debriefing tool was designed to spark meaningful conversation around each of the unique symbols mentioned in the 4-H Pledge.   

Time needed: 

  • Directions: 2 min.
  • Activity: 10 min
  • Debrief: 15 min

Props Needed:  Brain, Heart, Hand, Foot, Lungs, Four-Leaf Clover and a World.  Set these parts out in front of your group to set the stage for targeted metaphoric processing. Each part can be used independently or as a complete set. 

Important 4-H Facts: 

The 4-H 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.'

 

The 4-H Motto:  “To Make the Best Better” – The 4-H motto encourages each member to do his or her best and improve the next time, so their “best” becomes “better.” Members stretch their abilities and capacities to reach their full potential.  

4-H Mission

The mission of 4-H is to assist youth, and adults working with those youth, to gain additional knowledge, life skills, and attitudes that will further their development as self-directing, contributing, and productive members of society.

*Training Wheels has permission to use the 4-H name and emblem.  10% of all sales of this item will be donated to the 4-H program.

 The 4-H Pledge Dissected: 

Four-Leaf Clover:  Green represents life, growth and youth. White symbolizes purity and high ideals. 

Head:  “I pledge my Head to clearer thinking,” Head stands for decision making, planning, organizing, problem solving and using knowledge throughout life.   It is a way of saying that 4-H members will dispel all the thoughts and ideas that will only hold them back as an individual growing in today’s society. Through these words’ members learn to stop caring solely about themselves and concentrate more on other people and things that are in greater need than they are. 4-H members can grow as individuals with leadership skills and kindness to make the world better for all. Thinking with a clearer head also allows 4-H members to think of other things of greater importance in life, such as heart.

Heart:  “I pledge my Heart to greater loyalty,” Heart stands for strong personal values, positive self-concept, concern for others, cooperation and communication.   It is pledging to care more for other people versus only thinking of one’s self. Through the pledge, members commit to being faithful to each and every person and guarantee to help out if anyone is ever in need. The ability to have “heart” can make a member become a giving person who puts others needs before their own and gives out what they need with their Hands.

Hands:  “My Hands to larger service,” Hands stands for volunteering, community service, preparing for the world of work, science and technology literacy, and useful skills.  It is a promise to give the world as much as a member can. Like “heart,” giving your hands to larger service is when a member steps back from their own personal needs and gives to others what they can. Through “hands” 4-H members gain the ability to give strength to others. 4-H members can get out in the community and show everyone how much care their hands hold, while being able to maintain their own personal Health.

Health:  “My Health to better living,” Health stands for healthy lifestyles, character, ethics, stress management and disease prevention.  It is the only part of the 4-H pledge where a member thinks of themselves more than others. Through all the thinking, caring and giving it is easy to forget about oneself and endanger personal health. The importance of knowing their own personal needs so they do not get overlooked because of the other three H’s is the main reason why a member can think, care and give so much to others to the best of their ability.

World:  “For my club, my community, my country, and my world.” The 4-H pledge stretches past local concerns to make the world better for all. The 4-H pledge has taught thousands to use their head and not think of themselves as much as they should think of others. It has taught them to love everyone with their heart, to give to people in need with their hands and to make sure that their own health is strong, to live better, while making their own personal best, better.

Icebreaker Discussion Activity Directions: 

  • Have group gather around to discuss.
  • Frontload each piece and give an example of the type of answer that could be given.
  • Invite Participants to select one of the parts and share a response.

 

Facilitator Script:  “Hey everyone!  Today we’re going to kick off our session discussing the unique elements of the 4-H Pledge.  Let’s start out by reciting the 4-H Pledge together.”  (Do this!)  “Nicely done.  Now you’ve probably said this hundreds of times, but have you ever really stopped and discussed what each one of the lines in the pledge means?  Today we’re going to dissect each line and discuss what it means for you and your participation in our club.  Let’s start with the first line…  ‘I pledge my Head to clearer thinking...’  What do you think that means?”  (Pause for responses.)  “Nice!  Those are all great responses.  Head stands for decision making, planning, organizing, problem solving and using knowledge throughout life.   It is a way of saying that 4-H members will dispel all the thoughts and ideas that will only hold them back as an individual growing in today’s society. Through these words’ members learn to stop caring solely about themselves and concentrate more on other people and things that are in greater need than they are. 4-H members can grow as individuals with leadership skills and kindness to make the world better for all. Thinking with a clearer head also allows 4-H members to think of other things of greater importance in life, such as heart….  Which leads me to the next part of the pledge…  ‘I pledge my Heart to greater loyalty…’  What do you think that means?  (Pause for responses.)  “Very well done.  In addition to what you just mentioned, Heart also stands for strong personal values, positive self-concept, concern for others, cooperation and communication.   It is pledging to care more for other people versus only thinking of one’s self. Through the pledge, members commit to being faithful to each and every person and guarantee to help out if anyone is ever in need. The ability to have “heart” can make a member become a giving person who puts others needs before their own and gives out what they need with their Hands…. Which of course, leads us to the next line of the pledge… ‘I pledge my Hands to greater service…’  What do you think that means?  (Pause for responses.)  “Great job.  That one was easy!  Hands stands for volunteering, community service, preparing for the world of work, science and technology literacy, and useful skills.  It is a promise to give the world as much as a member can. Like “heart,” giving your hands to larger service is when a member steps back from their own personal needs and gives to others what they can. Through “hands” 4-H members gain the ability to give strength to others. 4-H members can get out in the community and show everyone how much care their hands hold, while being able to maintain their own personal Health.  And the last of the four H’s…  Health.  ‘I pledge my Heath to better living.’  What do you think that means?  (Pause for responses.)  “Nicely done.  Health stands for healthy lifestyles, character, ethics, stress management and disease prevention.  It is the only part of the 4-H pledge where a member thinks of themselves more than others. Through all the thinking, caring and giving it is easy to forget about oneself and endanger personal health. The importance of knowing their own personal needs so they do not get overlooked because of the other three H’s is the main reason why a member can think, care and give so much to others to the best of their ability.  The last line of the pledge is:  “For my club, my community, my country, and my world.” The 4-H pledge stretches past local concerns to make the world better for all. We have to think beyond just our club, but the other clubs in our community and across the United States.  We also have to think about how our actions affect others in the world.  It’s a great reminder to think well beyond the boundaries of our county or state lines, and think about how we can make an impact out in the world. 

 

Closing remarks:  I know you’ve said this pledge hundreds of times and have it memorized, but it’s important to really understand the words of the pledge that we are saying and committing to.  The 4-H pledge has taught thousands to use their head and not think of themselves as much as they should think of others. It has taught them to love everyone with their heart, to give to people in need with their hands and to make sure that their own health is strong, to live better, while making their own personal best, better.”

 

Debriefing Discussion Activity Directions: 

  • Have group gather around to discuss.
  • Frontload each piece and give an example of the type of answer that could be given.
  • Invite Participants to select one of the parts and share a response.

Debrief: 

  • Brain / Head:What did you learn today?  What is something new you thought of?  What goal setting do you need to do?  
  • Heart:What did you take to heart?  What feelings did you experience?  
  • Hands:How did you lend a hand to others?  In what ways did the group support you?  Give a hand to someone for a job well done.
  • Foot / Health:What are next steps for you or your club?  Describe a good step in the right direction for yourself.  What direction do you want to go next?
  • Lungs / Health:How was this experience a breath of fresh air?  Describe a time where you needed to stop and take a deep breath.
  • World:How do your actions affect others?  How can you use what you learned to help your club/community/country/world?
  • Four Leaf Clover:How has your participation in 4-H impacted you?