Note: Definitely worth the addition, from the 4-H Club of America; December, 1952
The Spiritual Influence in the American Way of Life
The history of the United States is rich in reminders of the important and basic part that religion has played in the life of our Nation from its very beginning. A few of these reminders follow:
The first act of the Pilgrim Fathers after landing on Plymouth Rock in 1620 was thanksgiving and prayer.
Tablets mark the pews rented and occupied by George Washington in churches in Virginia and New York.
“In God We Trust” is engraved on the coins of this Nation.
Abstracts from opinions of the Supreme Court of the United States: [Cases Adjudged in the Supreme Court at October Term, 1891. J. C. Bancroft Davis, reporter. United States Reports, vol. 143. New York and Albany. 1892. See pp. 467-471]
“The Declaration of Independence recognizes the presence of the Divine in human affairs * * *
“If we examine the constitutions of the various States we find in them a constant recognition of religious obligations. Every constitution of every one of the forty-four States contains language which either directly or by clear implication recognizes a profound reverence for religion and an assumption that its influence in all human affairs is essential to the well being of the community * * *
“There is a universal language pervading them all, having one meaning; they affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation.”
“If we pass beyond these matters to a view of American life as expressed by its laws, its business, its customs and its society, we find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth. Among other matters note the following: The form of oath universally prevailing, concluding with an appeal to the Almighty; the custom of opening sessions of all deliberative bodies and most conventions with prayer; the prefatory words of all wills, ‘In the name of God, Amen’; the laws respecting the observance of the Sabbath, with the general cessation of all secular business , and the closing of courts, legislatures, and other similar public assemblies on that day; the churches and church organizations which abound in every city, town and hamlet; the multitude of charitable organizations existing everywhere under Christian auspices; the gigantic missionary associations, with general support, and aiming to establish Christian missions in every quarter of the globe. These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”
In addition, significant statements have been made by our Presidents calling attention to the importance of the spiritual development of the individual and of the community. Theodore Roosevelt referred to a churchless community where men have abandoned and scoffed at or ignored their religious needs as a community on rapid down grade. Woodrow Wilson declared that our civilization cannot survive materially unless it be redeemed spiritually. Calvin Coolidge said that a country’s strength is the strength of its religious convictions, and Herbert Hoover referred to our churches and religious institutions as indispensable stabilizing factors in our civilization. This thought was in part expressed even more strongly by Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he referred to the churches as the greatest influence in this world of ours to overcome the tendency toward greed.
Many of the great scientists of our own time are increasingly recognizing, as did Louis Pasteur, that in the Gospel virtues lie the springs of great thoughts and great actions. Only a short time ago, Dr. Robert A. Millikan and Arthur H. Compton, both Nobel prize winners echoed this feeling. The late Dr. Charles Steinmetz, a recognized scientific genius, declared that the greatest discoveries of all time will be spiritual and that when the scientists of the world turn their laboratories over to the study of God and prayer and the spiritual forces, the world will see more advancement in one generation than it has seen in the past several years.
Distinguishing Features of 4-H Club Work
To help prepare tomorrow’s citizens physically, mentally, and spiritually, 4-H Club work provides opportunities for voluntary participation in programs built on the members needs and interests. The program includes many varied projects and activities geared to these needs and interests.
Many of the distinguishing features of this broad 4-H program follow:
The National 4-H Club 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 and my country.
The National 4-H Citizenship Pledge:
We, individually and collectively, pledge our efforts from day to day, to fight for the ideals of this Nation.
We will never allow tyranny and injustice to become enthroned in this, our country, through indifference to our duties as citizens.
We will strive for intellectual honesty and exercise it through our power of franchise. We will obey the laws of our land and endeavor increasingly to quicken the sense of public duty among our fellow men.
We will strive for individual improvement and for social betterment.
We will devote our talents to the enrichment of our homes and our communities in relation to their material, social, and spiritual needs.
We will endeavor to transmit this Nation to posterity not merely as we found it, but freer, happier, and more beautiful than when it was transmitted to us.
The National 4-H Club Motto: To Make the Best Better.
The National 4-H Club Creed for Members
Parallel with the development of State 4-H Club creeds, the following national 4-H Club Creed has been developed:
I believe in 4-H Club work for the opportunity it will give me to become a useful citizen.
I believe in the training of my Head for the power it will give me to think, to plan, and to reason.
I believe in the training of my Heart for the nobleness it will give me to become kind, sympathetic, and true.
I believe in the training of my Hands for the ability it will give me to be helpful, useful, and skillful.
I believe in the training of my Health for the strength it will give me to enjoy life, to resist disease, and to work efficiently.
I believe in my country, my State, and my community, and in my responsibility for their development.
In all these things I believe, and I am willing to dedicate my efforts to their fulfillment.
The National 4-H Club Creed for Leaders [The national 4-H club Creed for Leaders was written by the late Dr. C. B. Smith, formerly Assistant Director of the Cooperative Extension Service]
I believe in the good earth, in the beauty and strength of its hills and valleys, its fields and forests, its orchards and gardens, its cattle on a thousand hills.
I believe in the educational, spiritual, and character-building value of work on the land, in the growing of crops, the raising of animals, the production of flowers and fruits–work with the Creator.
I believe in the country home where father, mother, and children work and strive together, grow up together, and share in each other’s joys, hopes, and faith.
I believe that out of rural homes come many of the strong, accomplishing men and women of the Nation.
And because I believe these things, I shall do my best, through 4-H Club work, to help build an efficient agriculture and homes of peace, beauty, and honor all over America and throughout the world.
The Ten 4-H Guideposts
1. Developing talents for greater usefulness.
- Joining with friends for work, fun, and fellowship.
3. Learning to live in a changing world.
4. Choosing a way to earn a living.
5. Producing food and fiber for home and market.
6. Creating better homes for better living.
7. Conserving nature’s resources for security and happiness.
8. Building health for a strong America.
9. Sharing responsibilities for community improvement.
10. Serving as citizens in maintaining world peace.
Ceremonials as a Significant Part of the 4-H Club Program
4-H Club ceremonials may serve a useful purpose in highlighting the ideals of 4-H Club work with dignity and beauty and in creating a closer bond among 4-H Club members throughout the country.
In this connection, Carl Schurz in an address at Faneuil Hall in Boston, a hundred years ago, is quoted as saying, ”Ideals are like stars. You will not succeed in touching them with your hands; but, like the seafaring man, you choose them as your guides, and following them, you reach your destiny.”
Throughout history, ceremonials with their ballads and sometimes with dances have played an important part in transmitting from one generation to another pride of country, faith in its ideals, and courage to fight for them. Similar importance has been attached to the ceremonials of the great religions of the world in highlighting religious beliefs and inspiring faith in Divine Power.
In 4-H Club work, considerable importance may be attached to 4-H Club ceremonials which highlight the 4-H Emblem, the Pledge, the Motto, the Creed, and often 4-H songs –all expressing the basic philosophy and idealism of the 4-H Club movement. In this connection, Dr. Mary Eva Duthie, in her study of 4-H Club work in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, states: [4-H Club Work in the Life of Rural Youth. A thesis submitted for the degree of doctor of philosophy. Mary Eva Duthie. 124 pp. University of Wisconsin]
“With all of the differences between the 4-H organizations in the three States which have been noted here, a fundamental unity was found in the idealism of the movement which could not be measured but was felt as an undercurrent in every State. The emblem, the slogan, the motto, and the pledge are the symbols of this idealism which was usually called ‘4-H spirit.’ The slogan was quoted frequently by members in informal conversations about their organization, and both leaders and members were heard to say, ‘A 4-H member does thus and so,’ or ‘4-H stands for this and that,’ the reference always being to an idealistic situation. “The rural boys and girls then have various opportunities for social experience through 4-H. In some cases they receive the values possible only in the small intimate group; in others they are a part of a large community group. Some clubs offer them wide opportunity for development of aesthetic judgments, while other club programs omit that field from their program. There are varied possibilities for recreation and also varied opportunities for contact with members of the opposite sex. The project requirements which members must meet are different; in fact, the very means by which the project is presented to them differ widely. But in spite of all of these differences, 4-H may indeed be called a national movement because of the emotional bond which exists in the idealism symbolized by the insignia, the pledge, the motto, and the slogan.” The place of ceremonials in the 4-H Club program is determined largely by club leaders and members in the development of their own programs on a local and State basis. These ceremonials vary in the States where they are being used. Some are more elaborate than others. Some are longer and involve more people. Included in this, manual are a very simple admission ceremony, a ceremony for the installation of officers, and a citizenship ceremony for prospective voters. It is the hope that these ceremonials, happily interspersed with 4-H songs, and changed to suit the occasion, may prove helpful to all 4-H Club leaders desiring to make more meaningful the idealism and philosophy of the 4-H Club program in connection with the observance of National 4-H Events.
4-H Admission Ceremony
Many a 4-H Club member has been stimulated to greater effort and achievement by the experiences and opportunities made possible through 4-H Club work. A brief summary of some of the 4-H basic principles emphasized at the time new members are admitted may aid considerably in developing an appreciation of the values of club work. Therefore, the following brief ceremony seems especially appropriate at the time new members are enrolled. On occasion, it may seem desirable to simplify it.
The guide takes the candidate or candidates for 4-H Club membership to the front of the room, where the officers are standing behind a table on which an American flag and a 4-H flag have been placed.
To you who are about to become a member of the 4-H Clubs of America, we, as active members of (club name), sharing responsibilities in the carrying out of our 4-H program, wish to inquire as to your earnestness in becoming a member.
Have you selected a 4-H project and handed in a 4-H enrollment card signed by your parents?
Candidate: I have.
Before becoming a member, we feel that you should become acquainted with the organization and purposes of the 4-H Clubs. The 4-H Clubs are a part of the national agricultural Extension Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the State colleges of agriculture and county extension organizations. 4-H Clubs are organized to help us become better citizens in a democracy by teaching us how to work and play together; by guiding us in the solving of our own problems and those of the home and community; by giving us an opportunity to learn better methods of farming and homemaking; by encouraging us to pass these better methods along to others; by giving us an understanding and appreciation of country life; and by helping us to be of service to others and to our communities in a changing world. In addition, during this critical period, each 4-H Club program provides rural young people an opportunity to do their full part in working together for a better home , community, and world understanding.
Our 4-H emblem is a green four-leaf clover, with a white “H” on each leaf, standing for the development of the Head, Heart, Hands, and Health.
Our 4-H motto is “To make the best better.”
The Ten 4-H Guideposts are: (Text of the 4-H)
Our 4-H Club Creed for Members is: (Text of the 4-H members)
Our 4-H Citizenship Pledge is: (Text of 4-H Citizenship Pledge)
Our 4-H Club wants every person who joins it to know that he is joining a national organization that has important citizenship responsibilities. Every person should know also that the 4-H Clubs are part of a large organization in which the Extension Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, with headquarters in the Nation’s Capital, works cooperatively with the extension services of the State colleges of agriculture and the county extension services, as well as with the extension services of Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Each member should also know that 4-H Clubs are now well under way in many other countries.
President: You are now familiar with the purposes of 4-H Club work, the extent of the organization, the 4-H Emblem and what , it symbolizes, the 4-H Motto, the ten 4-H Guideposts to be used in developing 4-H programs, the 4-H Club Creed, and the 4-H Citizenship Pledge. Are you willing to try to live up to these ideals of the 4-H Club organization?
Candidate: I am.
President: Do you now wish to become a 4-H Club member?
Candidate: I do.
President: In becoming a member of our 4-HClub, we expect you to attend our meetings regularly, take an active part in our program, complete your project work, keep a record of all your 4-H activities, make an exhibit, and help other members of the club who may be in need of such help. As you sign the 4-H Club membership roll, please think of the responsibilities that you are assuming.
Candidate: Signs secretary’s book.
President: Please repeat the 4-H Club Pledge
Candidate: Repeats after president the 4-H Pledge. (Text of the pledge appears in part VI, P- 19.)
President: You are now a member of (name of club) 4-H Club. We welcome you into its membership. May you ever do your full part in carrying out the 4-H program. May you be faithful in helping to carry on your own 4-H work as a part of the general extension program of your community and county in partnership with your parents and neighbors, and in living up to its high ideals to the end that you will be among the distinguished number who are working for a better home, a better nation, and a better world.
Source: Aids for Observance of National 4-H Club Events: Program aid, Issue 214, December 1952; by United States Extension Service
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