The Importance of Waiting: 4-H Teaches That Some Things Can't Be Rushed

As I watched my daughter arrange and rearrange her misshapen pumpkins on our porch, I couldn’t help but smile. In her eyes they were all absolutely perfect because she grew them, she nurtured them, she discovered them, she watched them, she waited for them and she loved them. 

She didn’t see the blemishes and imperfections.

Her pumpkins were part of a small garden that she planted this year behind our barn for her 4-H Cloverbuds project. Cloverbuds is essentially the “warm-up” for 4-H. It gives young kids a chance to learn about the organization, discover what it means to be a 4-H member and hopefully get enticed to continue on.

In her 6-year-old mind, her pumpkin project was about those misshapen pumpkins on our porch. But I know that the true growth was in the journey to that beautiful display on our porch – the hours she spent preparing the soil, planting the seeds, watering the seeds and waiting. 

Waiting is a hard lesson to learn. It’s a lesson that seems more elusive than ever in our instant gratification world. I appreciate that 4-H has taught our kids the importance of waiting and observing what they learn through that time.

Whether it’s waiting on a garden to grow or feeding an animal to market weight, 4-H has taught our kids that you can’t rush some things, but the end result is worth the wait. They discover the joy of expectation, of hope for what’s to come. 

I think that’s one of the understated benefits of 4-H. 

Life doesn’t always roll out just like you expect. Sometimes we get stuck waiting for something we want to happen. Believe me, I’ve been learning and relearning that lesson since I was in 4-H.

In celebration of National 4-H Week, let me know how 4-H has benefited your life. Email me your reflections of imperfect pumpkins and more at jshike@farmjournal.com. 

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