Monday, December 7, 2015


Gratitude—one word, with only nine letters, containing a huge meaning. Expressing gratitude is sometimes an act we all fall short of perfection on while performing. We don’t show our appreciation for those who have given us so much—parents, siblings, teachers, friends, grandparents, and other mentors. We forget to say thank you, return the favor, or even simply acknowledge that a sacrifice, however small it may be, has been made for us.
Recently, I have noticed this as one of my own shortcomings. It became very clear to me the night after the closing session of the first FIRE. One of the duties assigned to the officer in charge of the opening and closing session is reading all the thank you notes written by the FFA members and then sending them out. These thank you notes were written to sponsors like Farm World and MacAllister, Indiana FFA State Staff, Leadership Center Staff, and guest speakers. During my closing session, I hadn’t really given the FFA members much direction on what to put in the actual thank you notes. Everything written in them was genuinely from their own thoughts and feelings. I couldn’t have been happier with the results. As I read them, tears came to my eyes. The amount of sincerity and thankfulness that radiated from those simple thank you notes blew me away.
           The definition of gratitude is, “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” I have never seen that definition more clearly expressed, than in those thank you notes. It was a wake-up call for me. None of my successes, big or small, would have been possible without help from one of my many mentors. I wondered to myself, “Do I always show gratitude to those people?” If I’m being honest, the answer is no.
            So I’m taking a second right now to say thank you, to offer some much deserved gratitude to those individuals who have given me so much help. Thank you to my family for always believing in me and being honest with me no matter what. To my friends, thank you for loving me even though I don’t always text back. For my teachers, thank you for pushing me to reach higher and be better. Everyone who helped me become the speaker that I am today, please know that I am so grateful. All the people who molded me into the person I see in the mirror everyday—thank you.
            Who do you need to thank? You can’t get anywhere in life alone. Think about those people in your life who have really impacted you. Take a moment tonight, today, or tomorrow and show them how much you appreciate them. Give them the gratitude they deserve. We don’t know the moment or the hour we will be taken from this Earth. We do not have an eternity to express our gratitude to those we love and appreciate.
            Gratitude— one word, with only nine letters, containing a huge meaning. It’s something so simple we can give to those who mean the most to us. Don’t withhold that gift. Give the gift of gratitude generously.

From the State Officer House with Love,

Annalee Witte
2015-2016 Indiana FFA State Secretary 

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