BERAN: Hold it all together

Michelle Beran is the 4-H and Youth Development Officer in the Cottonwood Extension District.

We had the opportunity to travel a few weeks ago and I was in my favorite seat by the window right in front of the wing of the plane.

Looking outside I noticed the rivets. Have you ever thought about that seemingly insignificant little piece of metal? Rivets are fun accessories on jeans or handbags, but they also hold things – like airplanes – together!

When I think of the number of men and women who painstakingly install each rivet in the right place so that each piece aligns and creates a safe vehicle we can travel in, I am amazed. In addition, it takes substantial force to properly set a rivet. If a rivet fails or is improperly installed, it can lead to dire circumstances for everyone involved.

I find a lot of analogies for youth development and those rivets! Raising the next generation of community and business leaders requires men and women who invest time and energy to provide positive learning experiences.

I often tell 4-H kids that life lessons stink… that’s why they are life lessons; it often takes difficult situations for each of us to learn the patience and persistence which is the strength needed to set rivets. We also need to regularly check for wear. On equipment, this necessary maintenance allows things to move smoothly and safely; on people, this maintenance is crucial for a healthy body and mind.

It is more or less the same for our communities. Yes, we need a structure and a purpose, but each of us needs to hold our little piece together to get us all where we are going!

Keep learning. Continue to show grace and kindness.

Michelle Beran is the 4-H and Youth Development Officer in the Cottonwood – Barton County Extension District office. For more information on this article or other questions related to 4-H and youth development, email Michelle at [email protected] or call 620-793-1910.

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