Words of wisdom for 4-H’ers



I do not believe the Geauga County Fair Board handled the steer situation in their county in a wise manner.

Before this situation in this and another Ohio county, I thought the rules were made and enforced by the Ohio Department of Agriculture since the state fair steer scandal.

When I was a 4-H adviser several years ago, I found this A 4-H Fable and usually gave all members a copy. It was written by Esther Chandler of Lakeside 4-H Club in Sandiego County, Calif. (see below).

It has many words of wisdom for parents, fair boards and exhibitors.

Mary Ann Kilzer
Millsfield, Ohio

A 4-H Fable

There once was a boy
Won some ribbons of blue;
Came home from he Fair
With a big trophy too.
With a voice glad and proud
He said to his Dad,
“’Tis the very best year
That I’ve ever had!”

Said his very wise Dad,
“Son, I’d like to hear,
Why you think that this was
Such a very fine year.”
“Why, Dad, you well know
All the prizes I’ve won;
How I’ve come out on top
In most things I’ve done.

Just look at the ribbons
That hang on my wall,
And think of the money
I’ve made since last fall
From premium checks
And a big auction price.
You can’t help but think
Cash and ribbons are nice.”

But the man said, “My son,
You’re not thinking right.
Blue ribbons, ’tis true
Are better than white;
But ribbons will fade
And trophies grow old.
Money’s soon spent
And fame soon grows cold.

The important things, son,
Are not ribbons or pins,
And sometimes it’s really
The loser who wins.
Now here are the things
Most important, it’s true,
Your 4-H experience
Has accomplished for you.

You’ve seen how a business
Meeting is run.
This knowledge will help you
In years to come.
You’ve conquered the fear
Of addressing a crowd.
You’ve learned how to stand up
And talk nice and loud.

Patience you’ve learned
In your projects, too,
As well as some skills
That will always help you.
You’ve learned the fine feeling
It gives you to lend
A glad helping hand
To a stranger or friend.

You’ve learned to cooperate
With majority rule …
To give in with grace
And not be the fool
Who always must have
His very own way,
Be it in club work,
In school or at play.

You’ve learned how to lose
Without making a ‘beef.’
You know the judge judges
To his best belief.
You’ve learned how to win
Without boasting too loud.
A kid can lose friends
If he’s overly proud.

Those are the things
Most important to you.
You’ll remember and use them
All your life through.
They’ll help you become
A might fine man.
They’ll do more for you
Than a prize ever can.”

(Poem attributed to Esther Chandler, Lakeside 4-H Club, Sandiego County, Calif.)


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  1. Esther Chandler was my mother. She passed away 16 years ago. She and my father were the community leaders of our local 4-H club in Lakeside. My parents (and especially my mother) taught me a great deal about integrity and values. She must have written this almost 50 years ago and would be so pleased that it is still being used by the 4-H association.


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