Missouri 4-H encourages young people to show good character in all they do – to be respectful, to be responsible, to follow the rules – and they do just that!

Show Me Character is a framework that teaches young people to make sound moral judgments. Based on CHARACTER COUNTS® Six Pillars of Character, it also encourages all adults to become more involved in helping youth develop positive character traits. Our communities benefit when young people and adults understand the importance of being involved and caring citizens and “doing the right thing” in their daily lives.

Missouri’s 4-H families are encouraged to “Show Me Character” while involved in 4-H programs and as an essential part of daily life. Ask your child(ren) to tell you about the Six Pillars of Character!


  • Be honest.
  • Don’t deceive, cheat or steal.
  • Be reliable – do what you say you’ll do.
  • Have the courage to do the right thing.
  • Build a good reputation.
  • Be loyal – stand by your family and friends.


  • Treat others with respect.
  • Be tolerant of differences.
  • Use good manners, not bad language.
  • Be considerate of the feelings of others.
  • Don’t threaten, hit or hurt anyone.
  • Deal peacefully with anger, insults and disagreements.


  • Do what you are supposed to do.
  • Persevere; keep on trying!
  • Always do your best.
  • Use self-control; be self-disciplined.
  • Think before you act – consider the consequences.
  • Be accountable for your choices.


  • Play by the rules.
  • Take turns and share.
  • Be open-minded; listen to others.
  • Don't take advantage of others.
  • Don't blame others carelessly.


  • Be kind.
  • Be compassionate and show you care.
  • Express gratitude.
  • Forgive others.
  • Help people in need.


  • Do your share to make your school and community better.
  • Cooperate.
  • Stay informed and vote.
  • Be a good neighbor.
  • Obey laws and rules.
  • Respect authority.
  • Protect the environment.

Practice character at home

Parents, guardians, and adult family members can do many things to teach and encourage their child(ren) to be of good character:

  • Teach your child that character counts--that their success and happiness will depend on who they are inside, and not what they have of how they look. Tell them that people of character know the difference between right and wrong because they guide their thoughts and actions by some basic rules of living.
  • Be an advocate for character. Don’t be neutral about the importance of character or casual about improper conduct.
  • Be a good role model. Hold yourself to the highest standards. Remember, everything you do and don’t do, sends a message about your values. When you slip, act the way you want others to behave when they act improperly- be accountable, apologize sincerely and resolve to do better.
  • Praise good behavior and discourage bad behavior by imposing fair, consistent consequences that prove you are serious about character. Show courage and firmness by enforcing the core values when it is difficult or costly to do so.
  • Give each child time, attention and affection.
  • Treat others with mutual respect.
  • Model and teach good manners.
  • Share your ethical beliefs
  • Expect and demand good character.
  • Utilize moral reasoning and good ethical decision-making.
  • Evaluate whether the TV shows, videos and movies are teaching lessons you want your children to live by.
  • Look for daily ways to encourage and reinforce behaviors demonstrating good character.
  • Develop high expectations, predetermined rules and consistently applied consequences for your child’s behavior.
  • Read to your children and keep character related literature in your home.
  • Bring up developmentally appropriate topics for discussion and ask, “What is the right thing to do?”
  • Help your child enjoy non-material rewards.
  • Discuss the meanings of holidays and the true spirit behind the special day.
  • Look for daily teachable moments.
  • Demonstrate kind acts and help people in need.

Apply Six Pillars to 4-H members

Being a person of character involves all parts of one's life, including one's 4-H projects! A 4-H member of character:

  • Works hard to improve their knowledge in that project area.
  • Helps out other members in the same project.
  • Does not cheat at competitions or fairs.
  • Respects club leaders, extension faculty, and other members.
  • Participates in all their activities with a positive attitude.
  • Participates in community service activities alongside their projects.


Introduce Six Pillars to 4-H groups

Character Connections lessons introduce the Six Pillars to 4-H groups:


Connect Six Pillars to 4-H project work

Character Connections guides link the Six Pillars to specific 4-H project areas:

Character Connections Guides

Show Me 4-H Character modules provide a groundwork for 4-H volunteers to build character education into all 4-H programs and activities. Adult leaders can role model good character for 4-H youth, parents, family members, and the community. They can also help 4-H members relate the Six Pillars of Character to specific projects, events, and situations, as well as their daily lives. Module topics include:


1. Why character development?

Module 1 resources


2. Character development theory

Module 2 resources


3. The Six Pillars of Character

Module 3 resources


4. Making good decisions

Module 4 resources


5. Competing with honor

Module 5 resources